14 Sep

MP3Gate At Wetherby 10K

Wetherby 10k

19 runners were disqualified at last weekend's Wetherby 10k for failing to abide by the 'No headphones rule' stipulated in the conditions of the race. Event director, Rob Gray, has since confirmed the competitor's times will not be officially recorded due to the infringement.

The race, organised by Wetherby Runners AC, is known as 'A Cracking Little Yorkshire Run' and has been on the calendar since 2006, regularly attracting up to 1000 runners.

In addition to the rule being highlighted on the entry form, the PA made 3 separate announcements on the morning of Sunday's race. Director Rob Gray told northernrunningguide.com: "The runners with headphones cannot hear the words of warning from race marshals on the route. They were warned it would happen. We are BARR Gold Graded and had two senior assessors there on the day, who returned a favourable report."

In a BBC Radio 5 interview earlier this week, Rob further defended his position, saying: "The rule is there for the benefit and safety of others taking part. There are a significant number of people that take part and runners do vigorously engage themselves through a farmyard and a narrow road, meaning we need to make a risk-assessment."

The use of headphones varies depending on the event, with most international races permitting participants to wear them. With many runners relying on their favourite playlist to help them through training, and studies proving that can also provide psychological and psychophysical benefits, there is an argument to be made that MP3 players should be allowed during events.

That said, if organisers prohibited their use and it wasn't properly enforced, there would surely be a wider concern over issues of liability and the safety of the rest of the field.

What are your thoughts on the use of MP3 players during races? Would you enter an event that doesn't allow music?

Comments

  1. Simon Lake said...

    The Milltown Races series has a strict 'no headphones' rule and marshals are encouraged to enforce the rule by reporting to the race director if they see any runner flouting the rule. The races are not traffic free and the rule is for the runner's safety. Announcements are made 10 mins before the races to allow runners time to get rid of them and we provide an area where people can leave them (at their own risk). I have personally been 'victim' of the phenomenon when being taken off a course by ambulance where we were held up by a runner who seemed totally oblivious to all around him. It wasn't until a marshal actually ran alongside him and pulled one of his earphones out and told him that he moved! (Ambulance drivers are encouraged to NOT use sirens in races unless it is a life or death situation). If a race imposes the rule, there is a reason behind it. If you don't agree then please don't enter.
  2. Neil Dring said...

    It's really not difficult. If an event entry form says clearly that headphones are not allowed and wearing them will lead to disqualification, why would anybody be surprised or aggrieved to be disqualified if they blatantly ignored the rules of entry and, it seems, ignored the advice of the volunteer marshalls? Organisers will always have good reason for imposing such a rule, whether it be a safety measure or otherwise. Too many people now seem to think they know better and should be able to ignore rules or restrictions that don't suit them, without caring that they might be putting other runners at risk. If you need a playlist to give you the psychological boost to get you through a race, maybe you should do a bit more training before entering. Or how about being sociable, talking to another runner, and helping each other through bad patches? Mind you, it seems to me they did well just to get disqualified. Some race organisers (I'm told) take these things a whole lot more seriously. Anybody doing the Langdale Marathon and Half Marathon next weekend take note. I hear they've already erected the scaffold just after the finish line.
  3. elaine rushworth said...

    I am a Health & Safety consultant by profession. The HSE tire of "jobsworths" who come up with unnecessary rules. Do race officials also intend to ban runners who are deaf or have hearing impairment? What next!
  4. Juicy Lucy said...

    I RAN THE RACE and completely agree with the no MP3 ruling. I sometimes train whilst listening to music or interval training programmes from Chrissie Wellington but in large groups MP3 wearers have no awareness of fellow competitors.
  5. Dave Owens said...

    I agree with the no headphones rule. When you are running in a race with a lot of people you need to be aware of who and what is around you. You can always talk to fellow runners and help each other.
  6. Kong said...

    If it is stated clearly in the rules that it is MP3 free event and disqualification will occur, then that is fair enough and there is no argument really. I love music to run too and have ran races with an MP3 in even though the official rules said no. There were no issues as I had it quiet enough to hear any vehicles/ shouts and had the decency to shoulder check before changing direction or overtaking. With a bit of consideration for fellow runners we can reasonably run with music, but as always some people, as they are in cars and with shopping trolleys, are oblivious to everything and everyone else!
  7. Maurice Smith said...

    Delighted to hear that a race has rules re music and runners being unable to hear instructions or warnings from other runners and marshals and that the rules are implemented. Frustrated by people who listen to music on training runs and put themselves at risk. Fed up at startling runners overtaken when they are listening to music. Lets have more race organisers banning the devices.
  8. run girl said...

    I usually run with music through training and races. I am always aware of what is going on around me. I wouldnt enter a race which had a music ban, not because I cant run without music but I much prefer running with. Its a choice. And it should remain a choice.
  9. Redjenjen said...

    I use an MP3 player for interval programmes and general runs, I find it helps me get through the training, I also find that a decent upbeat playlist helps me perform slightly better but if anything it just gets me through the run. I don't have the volume loud so that I'm aware of who and what is around me, my last 10K I used it on low and could hear the marshals perfectly fine. Towards the last part of the race I took my earphones out as I was going down a steep tricky woodland path, ended up getting startled by another runner because my concentration was on where my feet were landing. I get more startled by runners when I don't have my headphones in. If they are banned in a race I'm in then obviously I don't wear headphones, if the track/road your running on needs concentration I can see why they cause trouble, but I think a ban on all races is asking a bit much as run girl said it's a personal choice and should remain that way.