Headphones banned

Hi, I did the Bridgwater 5k on Sunday, they also do a 10k and half marathon....anyway, headphones were banned and if people wore them they would be disqualified, this a new rule by the athletics bigwigs so affects many races across the country. Personally, I think it is ridiculous and really puts me off taking part in races as sometimes music is the only thing that keeps me going and breaks the monotony !! Somebody posted this on a parkrun Facebook page and lots of people said that " real runners" don't listen to music when they run......how do you feel about this new ban??


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20 Replies

  • Good article here about music and working out... basically music dulls pain/fatigue and so, it's thought, may give someone an edge in a competitive situation, hence the ban:


    Fine if you're deadly serious about running/elite but what about the rest of us just doing our own thing? (I nearly wrote 'fun runners' but I hate that snobby distinction between 'real runners' (ugh) and the rest of us.)

    I personally think it should be up to the runner how they get round a course - everyone has exactly the same choice and thus the playing field is level. Banning headphones would certainly make running a race a whole lot less 'fun' for me and I'd be like you much less inclined to sign up.

  • It's all to do with safety. If you have headphones on then you would struggle to hear any instructions from the marshals. I've done a few races and headphones weren't allowed on any of them which I struggled with to begin with but got used to.

    I have read that many organisers are getting tougher on this so we have been warned!

  • Yep, this was an outright ban and DQ if you wear them....its health and safety gone mad!! Just turn the volume down!!

  • Yep - the tyranny of the 'I want my Mummy' minority at work yet again. If you are so stupid that you will run out under a car because you have the volume up too loud, tough! Why should everyone else have to cater to your imbecility? :)

  • It stinks!

  • Yes it is a Health and Safety issue , you have got to be able to hear the marshalls instructions if necessary . I don't mind running without headphones in for races, I like to soak up all the atmosphere and I find if I have my music on , it distracts me from that .

    I do listen to music on my own runs though and love it .

    I totally disagree with " Real runners don't listen to music when they run " Load of tosh, if you ask me ! :-) xxx

  • I am same as Pops. I like to be in on the buzz of race day. I listen to music the rest of the time. We don't spend much time on races in the scheme of things - well not us enthusiastic amateurs that is ☺ I notice that people have been ignoring the instruction so maybe they have decided to enforce it. I expect it will be an insurance thing.

  • We had a chat about this earlier in the year:


    The IAAF Rulebook 2016-2018 prohibits the use of headphones (Rule 240) where the race is run (partly or completely) on public roads. They have not done this to be grumpy or elitist, or Health-and-Safety gone mad, but to protect runners against traffic collisions, and to ensure that the marshalls are able to communicate with the runners.

    So any race here in UK run under the auspices of UK Athletics is going to ban headphones, and you'll face disqualification if you are wearing them.

    You are free to run when and where you want, either on your own, in a group or in an organised race. Wear headphones, listen to music or podcasts, or run 'naked' without gadgets, it is completely up to you (music will probably help your training). BUT when you run in an organised event, you'll have to follow the rules of that event. Anything organised by UK Athletics or Run Britain will prohibit headphones.

    How do I feel about this new ban? I train wearing headphones, but run in events (including parkrun) without. I enjoy chatting to other runners, marshalls and the whole atmosphere of events, so I'm pretty relaxed about this ban.

  • Just because you're unlikely to be in the top five finishers, or even the top fifty does NOT mean you're not a "real" runner! I am real. Snails are real too.

    That's interesting to know, Natasha. I've not done much in the way of events yet so I wasn't aware this was a thing.

    I like my ipod for training on my own although I do take the earphones out when I get to a junction.

    But at parkrun I quite often run without it as I like listening to folk's chat as I go. Admittedly listening to other people's conversations probably isn't really something I should be doing, so maybe I should go back to the earphones. :)

  • I got back into running using music and earphones, but I run much more focused without so I gave up using them.

    Get the energy from the others is a great way of enjoying the day and for that you don't need earphones or music ;)

  • I don't wear them, don't need to listen to music when running,but the ban on headphones has nothing to do with a competitive situation!

    "The wearing of headphones, or similar devices, (other than those medically prescribed), is not permitted in races on any single carriageway road that is not wholly closed to traffic.

    This restriction does not apply to races held on dual carriageways provided that there are clear, structured separations between the separate carriageways. Competition Providers of races held entirely on roads closed to traffic may apply this condition where appropriate to local circumstances."

    Race Directors may apply the condition to any race where they consider the wearing of headphones to be a hazard - including, for example, where runners must be able to hear marshals' instructions or on a lap course, and UKA will support the race director where that local condition is applied.

  • urgggg no likey. The ONLY thing that got me through my marathon was my music. There are alot of purists out there who will say all sorts of rubbish and frankly they are usually very boring people :)

  • Lol!! Love your response:)

    Can't imagine a marathon, let alone in silence.....blee!

  • I do sometimes listen to music - I didn't when running in the London marathon - and it certainly wasn't running in silence! The cheering and music was incredible! I love the whole atmosphere of races, and having marshalled at two races it's nice to 'talk' and interact with participants as well as give safety info.

  • I should add as I run on roads too that I just have one ear in so I can hear traffic ( I always do this so I can have a sense of what's going on around me!!

  • Interesting discussion here. I only found out about the ban when I went to have a look at my local parkrun (I've registered but wanting to check it wasn't too scary!) I asked about headphones as there were a few runners wearing them. I was advised not to wear them - for the reasons already given ie need to listen to instructions. I have found I struggle if I run on my own without distraction of some kind.

    My daughter who runs in a few races suggested to me some time ago that I do a practice run without headphones but not ready for that yet! I think running in a race with others will be such a different experience that I (hopefully) won't miss the music. Running on my own - I'm addicted to my podcast for now!

  • Annoying but this kind of thing always happens when pastimes become 'organised'. Personally I would vote with my wallet and participation - if they don't want my headphones, they can do without my entrance fee. There are a LOT of alternative runs out there :)

  • I too just use one earphone when running - I have both channels mixed so I get the full mono sound through one ear. I have recently bought over er headphones that allow you to hold a conversation but still hear the music really well.

    I also find times when music annoys me when I run and then others when it helps, so I am happy running with or without

  • We also have the ban... It sucks but makes sense. One thing I have found is some runners instead have their phone going with music without headphones only loud enough for them to hear and of course if you run next to them. If you really need music you could try this?

  • Have thought about this but sound is tinny and don't want to annoy other people:)

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