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?