14 Sep

MP3Gate At Wetherby 10K

Wetherby 10k

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 southernrunningguide.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?


  1. Tess @ FitBits said...

    Fair enough, I reckon! If the rules clearly state no music allowed then people have to adhere to that or not bother entering at all. I always train with music but have ran a few races without (my first half marathon was run without music, and recently the London Duathlon), and it's really not that bad. The atmosphere and adrenalin carries you through anyway and it'd be a shame to miss the cheering crowds. I had my earphones in for the whole of Brighton Half Marathon this year and didn't hear a single cheer - next year I might take them out every mile or so.
  2. Andy X said...

    If the entry form had clearly stated the no headphone rule, these 19 people were foolish to try & run with them & were rightfully disqualified. Rules are not there to be broken, if you don't like certain rules don't enter. I wear mine occasionally in training but never in a race whatever the distance, I like to appreciate people standing watching & marshalls applauding my efforts, not ignore them.