No HeadphonesRace directors that want to insure and sanction their races through the RRCA or USATF know that they need to begin enforcing the “No Headphone” rules at their races. The RRCA has decided that the main problem isn’t necessarily enforcement, it’s education, and so they have designed a handy logo that race directors can put onto race entry blanks to let runners know how “serious” they are. The logo is pictured at right.

“Banning headphones or advising participants to leave them at home or in the car is part of the risk management responsibility of a race director. Many participants do not understand or respect the awesome responsibility a race director shoulders to ensure the safety of every single participant in an event,” explains Jean Knaack, RRCA executive director. “Respecting an event director’s choice to ban headphones is a shared responsibility of every participant to ensure the safety of all runners, the future success of the event and the sport as a whole.”

The logo was created by Jim Gerwick, a member of the USATF Long Distance Running sub-committee that is studying the enforcement of the headphone ban in sanctioned races. “Race officials don’t ban headphones to be mean to runners. It’s for their own safety and that of everyone else in the race,” he says.

Given the level of “discussion” and mud-flinging between the “no headphone” advocates and the folks that think it their god-given right to wear them, or the folks that don’t really care one way or the other, I don’t know that is necessarily an education issue. Nobody ever seems to want to budge any time I see discussions on the matter.

As long as race insurance costs keep rising for events that don’t ban headphones, I don’t think that the folks who want to use them stand much of a chance of changing the minds of race directors or their governing bodies. The new logo is cute, and it will certainly make it more obvious if a race doesn’t allow headphones, but I am not sure how much of a difference it is going to make.

(Further Information: RRCA)