Wearing headphones during a raceDave McGillivray, the race director for the Boston Marathon and the Beach to Beacon, recently shared his thoughts on headphone use. He gave his arguments about why he enforces the USATF rule about headphone use, which boil down to 3 points.

  1. He’s technically required to.
  2. Safety reasons.
  3. Insurance reasons.

Personally, I question that in ALL cases wearing a headphone / iPods in a road race with a closed course is truly unsafe or dangerous but I can see where they can be unsafe in certain circumstances which is enough to prohibit them.
However, this is now a USATF rule and to be compliant with the USATF position and rule, we need to discourage and ban the use of headphones in all our sanctioned events. Runners are usually very cooperative when informed of the rule…which is the key…making them aware of the rule before they even register for the race.

When he went out running in Boston’s back bay a month and a half ago, he counted the number of people out running with mp3 players. A staggering 90% of the over 60 people that he passed had their ears stuffed with headphones. Even a kid in a stroller had their head buried.

Hearing something like that makes me wonder whether what the percentage of my generation that goes deaf at a young age is going to be. Personally, I do not wear headphones when I am running. Apart from actually enjoying the act of running and taking in my surroundings, I am too paranoid about getting hit by a car again to provide the cars any more of an advantage over me than I have to.

I am also too competitive to want to wear them; I like to hear people coming up on me when I’m not chatting with them. It does not really bother me when other people wear headphones, as long as they don’t bother me because they are wearing them. As an adult, you have the right to ascertain whether a risk is worth taking or not.

Source: Cool Running
Thanks to frequent commenter DPeach for the heads up!
You may also be interested in reading about the advantages and disadvantages of running with headphones, or a more in depth look into how I feel about headphones on runners.