MP3 player or not on race day?

Hi everyone,

I have been training for the Great South Run and am pretty much on track (well for getting round it at least). This will be my first actual race and as I have never been to one before, I was wondering if it is worth taking my MP3 player? As there will be 18500 runners and then all the supporters, will I even be able to hear it if I do? I kind of want to, as I have been training with it for the past few months and I believe it helps a bit with my breathing and running rythm and will help me to keep my head and not set off too fast for the first couple of miles. Worth it or not?



  • Nah - enjoy the atmosphere - it is what makes race days different!
  • I'd definitely say no. You want to soak up the atmosphere, and not lock yourself away in a bubble of sound. Some races are banning them on safety grounds as well. I've seen people racing with ipods oblivious to an ambulance trying to get past them.
  • I'm doing the GSR and I'm a vote for no too - it's great talking to other runners and hearing the crowd. Also the only person who almost tripped me in my race yesterday was wearing an ipod and was unaware I was there.
  • Thanks guys. I guess I will leave it at home!

     I must admit, I have almost returned home with tyre tracks over me myself, from not realising there was a cyclist behind me!

    Best of luck for the race "B"

  • "no" gets my vote too, you'd miss out on a lot, much better to enjoy everything that's going on around you. And as cougie said, there's the health and safety aspect too.

    Actually I don't ever run with one.

  • only use mine in the gym to relieve the tedium of the treadmill

    never use one outside, racing or training, for all of the above reasons

  • Good luck to you too Rarron - it should be fun. I am hoping the weather stays like this i.e. dry and no wind - though I would prefer to rain to wind, I think they had both last year!
  • Definately. I must admit over the last few months I have been pretty lucky and managed to avoid most of the rain and wind whilst running. If the wind gets up on the sea front it could make things v difficult - but hey, I will enjoy it whatever (A few months ago, I wouldn't have ever thought 10 miles, running and enjoyment could be thought of in the same sentence) image

  • Thanks guys. I guess I will leave it at home!

     I must admit, I have almost returned home with tyre tracks over me myself, from not realising there was a cyclist behind me!

    Best of luck for the race "B"

  • I love my ipod - don't leave home without it, have never tripped anyone up but have been nearly pushed over LOTS of times in races by IGNORANT blokes doing that sprint through the gap then jump in front thing GGGGRRRR They are never wearing earphone - they are just stupid and ignorant and quite often I feel the need to shout at them. (sorry but it is always men/boys)

     I have run a couple of marathons without it - couple with, and have decided that it is now my pal for life - image  Trick is to have one ear clear or the volume down low enough that you can hear what's going on around you. I listen to books on it too.  And I am still a real runner - despite the fact that I like to dissociate from the pain.

  • Race organisers have to look at a lot of health and safety issues, as well as carry out quite a lengthy risk assessment.

    This, unfortunately, has to be done these days to lessen the chances of litigation if something goes wrong.

    If a runners does something during a race because they didn't hear a marshall's instructions and causes an accident that causes injury to another runner, who would be at fault? The runner who caused the accident or the organiser who let them run with an MP3 player?

    Use it for training, and use it to get "psyched up" before a race - but leave it off for the race itself.

    Sorry if I sound like a boring fart.

  • I have to agree with GymAdddict...I always run with mine and have the headphone in my right ear only so I can still hear what is going on around me. The music can help you along when you hit a hard part of the race and I have NEVER run into anyone or not been aware of my surroundings. Richard Bacon (DJ) said that if he realises he's forgotten his mp3 playerwhen he hets to the gym he goes home again as he needs it to run and I agree, I feel lost without my music and listening to Edith Bowman on Radio 1helped me train for London where I also wore my headphones.

    My suggestion would be to wear it but don't turn it on if you don't need to and then you have the choice to put it on if you feel you need to during the race.

  • Can I just say to all those who say it's a health and safety must be able to hear marshalls instructions etc....are deaf runners not allowed to race for that reason?
  • Deaf runners will usually pay more attention to visual signals because they know that they can't hear.

    I've nearly lost an i-pod wearing runner under a car during a race because she couldn't hear my instructions.  Everyone else was avoiding the car that I was warning them about but she ran straight on. 

  • Deaf runners are also deaf all of the time so have undoubtedly adapted to the real world by being more cautious.

    They're not muppets who are purposely deaf when runnintg by having megadeth blasting out at 200 decibels in both ears in order to get their legs to work.

  • My point is just that it's not really about not being able to hear, it's about not paying attention to your surroundings. 

     People who don't pay attention to the marshalls are just plain stupid, whether they're wearing headphones or not.

  • You're absolutely right, ginag, but when someone is tired towards the end of a race they are likely to behave irrationally and find it harder to concentrate.  A shout from a marshal will be enough to catch their attention but they won't hear it if they're plugged in.

    Race organisers are just trying to reduce the risks by asking people not to use headphones.  We rely on councils and the police to give permission for road races and if there's an accident it make it less likely that permission will be given again.  It's in everyone's interest to have safe races.

  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭

    Don't wear your mp3 in a race. It's discourteous to other runners, whom you might not hear as they approach and overtake. It's also potentially dangerous because you MUST be able to hear what marshals say and heed their directions. Some race directors are banning mp3s in events, for reasons that are just plain obvious. Also, from what I've observed, runners unaware of their surroundings seem unable to hold a straight line, thus posing a further hazard.

    Just don't do it! 

  • I do understand the need to reduce risk, I've done events both with and without headphones depending on the rules set by the organisers.  And to be honest, I don't really know which I prefer.

     What I don't like is the attitude from some on this forum (not just this thread, it's been said before) that everybody who uses an MP3 is a muppet who doesn't take their running seriously. 

    I've been cut up in events, I've had people stop dead in front of me and one on my last event who kept overtaking me, going in front and then slowing down so I had to go past them.  These people were muppets and not all of them had headphones on.

  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭
    Not all muppets wear headphones, 'tis true. But all headphone wearers in races are muppets. Not because they don't take their running seriously (who are we to judge that?) but because they are deliberately impairing their awareness.
  • I am an absolute fan of wearing my MP3 when I run - it enhances the whole run, listening to music.

    Would I wear one for a race ....Never

    Would I wear one when running in any company ...Never 

    We have a runner in our club who wears one every club night ?????    Why come with us ? image

  • i think a lot of runners never actually run without their ipods so i guess they are afraid of racing without them. I run with one sometimes in training and its fine but its really not a problem to race without one - its just not needed - people managed without them in the past ?
  • I'm not a muppet and I'm also not blinkered to other peoples views, just because you don't wear an ipod because you don't want to doesn't mean I shoudn't or that I'm rude and don't listen.

    A) I do listen to what the marshalls are saying

    B) I do NOT have my music playing at 200 decibels I have my music playing gently in ONE ear

    C) I am fully aware of what is going on around me. Yes...I do have two eye's, and two ears and if you try running with one headphone in you may well appreciate this before being rude and not even giving the ipod wearer a chance.

    D) I am not opinionated enough to abuse others who have a choice about what they want to do when they take part in a race.

    Now I'm sure you have put off the forum starter from wearing one because as you so kindly put it she's a muppet for doing so. So if she does feel like she's worried vefore the race it can't calm her down or if she hit's the wall it won't be able to help her through.

  • I made the mistake of wearing my MP3 player for my first race and found i was constantly jumping out of my skin whenever one of the faster runners passed me. I even scared one of them half to death as well by my reaction for which i apologised no end.

    I'd always use one for training but i'd never wear one in a race again.

  • Grumle - OK I'm sure you are a sensible Ipod wearer - but for every one of you - there are three or four who run with the music blasting in their ears. You can hear it as you pass them.  I've seen this with my own eyes, and it's a stupid thing to do. They are simply not aware of what is going on around them. Which isnt much of a problem when they are out on their own, but a hazard in a crowded race.

     How can music help you get through the wall though ? I've run 9 or so marathons and never hit the wall because I've taken on sufficient food, drink and gel to get through. No amount of music will replace proper nutrition and concentrating on taking on food at the right places in the race.

  • Well I have run 4 marathons - as I said before 2 with ipod and 2 without.  I only have it in one ear and find that it motivates me a lot when I am tired.  This debate rages on RW all the time and quite frankly folks are muppets with or without ipods.  I am constantly amazed at the rudeness and sheer bl**dy stupidity of male runners who do the 'jumping around' in front of you thing. 

     These guys are total muppets in my opinion. However I would not go so far as to say that all male runners are muppets because of a select few. 

     Please do not be so rude and small-minded as to tar all folks with a big brush just because you do not agree completely with how they run a race or whether they wear an ipod or not. Sensibly people will take precautions, have volume down, one ear free or whatever and be aware of marshalls and other folks. Not so sensible people will not and would not be sensible with or without headphones and as I repeat again and again it is not headphone wearing folks who try to trip me up - it is big sweaty ignorant blokes - EVERY TIME.image

  • Re deaf runners.

    A lot of profoundly deaf runners run with a "buddy" for this very reason. They can't hear traffic etc,. so its a matter of personal safety for them and for others. 

    They also don't choose to be deaf, and in effect thats the difference.

    Its a matter of personal choice. Personally I don't and wouldn't - nothing to do with H&S it would just get in the way of my brain. When I'm listening to music I'm listening to music, when I'm running I'm running - simple as that.

  • And I agree with the comments about bad mannered runners.

    I've just been elected to rhe FRA disciplinary board, and at our first meeting we slapped a 6 month race ban on a runner who pushed a walker off a mountain path. Hopefully thats sent a message....

  • I'm with you, GymA - speech, in the form of a podcast or audiobook can just as well be listened to in mono and it doesn't interfere with marshalling or perception of the atmosphere. It's the wussies that suddenly slow down or stop to get round a puddle that cause problems, not the podrunners.

    Reductio ad absurdum - if you listen to the Phidippedations marathon-training podcast, you hear a guy running and panting a lot of the time, and how is that different from not wearing earphones image

  • To be honest I could never run with music race or no race. I would feel as though I had no awareness of what was going on (cars, muggers, big hairy dogs etc)..I can see the attraction of an mp3 player in the gym but I think outside you need to have your wits about you.

     My cyclist partner ran over a runner wearing headphones who just jogged out into the road without stopping, looking or (more importantly) listening.

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