Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Headphone Wrangle

The wearing of headphones while running can certainly be dangerous to you and those around you, impairing your ability to hear traffic, warnings from race marshals, or that barking dog (or worse) on your heels about to bite you (or worse)!

Yet for many there is something appealing about zoning out and having 4000 of their favorite tunes available to them as they beat the pavement or the trails, particularly in a race. Perhaps the music pumps the adrenalin, improves focus, or distracts from the pain!

The official rule of most governing bodies including the NLAA is that the wearing of headphones is NOT permitted in races. But enforcement is up to race organizers, and the extent of enforcement varies greatly from race to race. Some will not allow you on the course, others will quietly disqualify you, but most will turn a blind eye instead focusing on the dozens of other race management priorities and issues facing them.

Do Race Directors crack down on the headphone rule to improve the safety of participants, or do they ease off and accept the age-old marketing parable ... "the customer is always right"?

Leave you comments below or complete our NL Runners' Survey top right on

UPDATE April 3: Survey now closed. Results posted HERE.