Why ‘No Headphones’ Policy In Marathons

No Headphones Policy In Marathons Explained

Why 'No Headphones' Policy In Marathons

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Many runners are surprised to find out why some races have a no headphones policy. The ‘no headphones’ policy in marathon and half marathon races, is not because they do not want runners to enjoy music during the race, the reasons are serious enough to enforce this rule.

What is the No Headphone Rule

Most marathon organizers have  a no headphone policy for their race. The no headphones rule has different reasons, and several ways it is enforced.  Here is the ‘no headphone’ policy from the Napa Valley Marathon as you may see at marathon events guidelines.

in accordance with Road Runners Club of America guidelines and USA Track & Field (USATF) Rule 1.44.3(f). These devices include cell phones, MP3 players, and other portable audio or video devices using headphones. We ask that you not bring them, or stow them in the provided sweat check bag. Course officials will be monitoring the starting line and the course, and there will be a USATF Referee monitoring the finish line. You are subject to disqualification should you choose not to follow this policy. Read more..

Organizers do not allow it for safety reasons, the main reason is that orgenaizers find that degital devices can pose a risk for the runners and other participants of the running event. For example see explanation for the no headphones of the MOUNT LEMMON MARATHON at Tucson Arizona .

The course is on a narrow mountain road and rock falls are a problem. You can’t really see a fall coming, so you’ll have to rely on your ears and your fellow runners around you. It’s a very difficult course, especially with the warm weather, and the emergency crews have to be able to do their job – we don’t want to see an ambulance stuck behind a runner with headphones. Read more FAQ

What Are The Hazards of Headphones During a Marathon Race

  • Not hearing traffic, event motor bikes, bicycles, roller blade riders
  • Not hearing marathon staff, crew on motorbikes, ambulances, crew instructions
  • Not hearing other runners

For this many organizers have specific requests and instructions for runners. The Chron.com mentions for example some of the actions taken by the Grandma’s Marathon, to deal with the no headphone policy:

+ Advise participants not to bring headphones or other music devices with them to the race course.

+ Give athletes the option to surrender them to a race official prior to the race.

+ Properly package and mail back the surrendered devices to their rightful owners within two weeks after the race.

+ Disqualify participants who violate the headphone ban and remove their finishing time from the official race results. Check more on this..

Headphones Prohibited For Elite Marathon Runners

The other reason why headphones are prohibited in marathon races, mainly for elite runners, is due to the fact that they runners should not have any unfair communication to their trainer or personal marathon coach during the race.

While most of us train for marathon with music, and plan to take our favorite running tracks to our next marathon, it is better to check before the event what is the headphones policy for that race.

Bluetooth headphones are superb for marathon training. you can listen to music and answer calls too. Not every bluetooth headphone is suitable for sports and running. If you do not have a bluetooth headphones yet, here is our recommended headset

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