This week's Take It and Run Thursday focused on 4th of July fireworks--the big controversies in the running world. When I read it, the only thing I could think of was headphones at races.
It's a topic I've discussed before, so this is really more review than anything else. The USATF recently reversed their stance on using headphones in races. Very intelligently, they recognized that elite runners aren't wearing them and non-elite runners (um, the majority of us) gain a lot by using them.
When I'm on a long run, it's the music that keeps me going. It takes my mind off of how my knees are feeling and how many miles I have left. If I the right song comes on, it takes me back to the first time I heard the song or a happy memory when I heard it. More than anything, it stops me from being bored while my feet continue to pound.
I see two distinct philosophies when making laws or rules. You can either allow people to do something because you know that the vast majority of people won't abuse it. Or, you can restrict everyone because a few people abuse it. And, rather than dealing with the abusers, you can punish everyone.
Needless to say, I subscribe to the first theory. Allow the rule followers to use headphones and deal with the abusers separately. And by abusers, I mean people who have their music too loud so that they're running into people and creating a danger. It's easy enough to find and that should be the focus, if at all.
I haven't run many races since the USATF made the policy change so I'm hoping that race directors will follow their guidance. After all, I'm nowhere close to winning the race so what's the harm in having the melodic sounds of the Beastie Boys serenade my final mile?