Thursday, January 27, 2011


Just got a note today from the race director of the Rocky Racoon.

Dear Rocky Raccoon Trail Runner,

I wanted to send you a note with the major 

details, and also some things you just need to know. 
 I'll go through a few of my pet peeves first, then 
get into the major race details.

1) NO HEADPHONES, IPODS, or any other electronic 

device that plays music is allowed to be attached to you 

I call bullshit. This "pet peeve" was nowhere on their website, and as of this post, still isn't. C'mon folks.  It's not like there's scenery we're missing.

This issues is a non-issue with most RDs these days.  I'd have not trained for this if I had known it was an issue for this RD.  Twelve hours is a long damned time for me to be lost in my thoughts.  I am not a chatty cathy when I'm running.  

I've had race directors say that this is a safety issue, when parts of the race are in heavily trafficked areas. This race is inside a state park.  I just have to assume that someone finds them annoying.  When I googled SITE:TEJASTRAILS.COM HEADPHONES what I found were a couple of race reports from previous years where people talked about putting on their headphones.   Eight this is a brand new rule, or other people have been ignoring it.

I'm going to start writing ultra race directors in the future and asking about this.  If they say no headphones, I'm not paying a race fee, not training for, and not doing their race.  I can understand that some people find them annoying, but I find lots of things annoying, so what?  I don't expect that my absense will make much impact, but it will make me feel better.

That said, maybe some day I'll direct a race.  If I did, maybe I could ban things that annoy me:

* Really skinny-legged guys in baggy shorts
* People who are unnecessarily cheerful late into the race
* Ham sandwiches.  Seriously.  Ham?  When did that become a race food?

I've heard people say that it gives others an "unfair advantage" although this was never completely explained to me.  Seriously?  Well, then, as race director, my new rules to make everything fair would be:

* No caffein
* No ibuprofen
* Bring your own food
* Random UAs
* People with BMIs higher than 25 get a head start.

And then, about a week before the race, I'll send out one mass email that says







  1. I'm with you on all of the above. And 110% on the BMI thing.

  2. Sorry, if there's congestion I agree with the RD. It's dangerous and stupid if people are running around without the ability to hear.

    Nothing like "on your left" to somebody that is plugged up. It's very anti-social

    "Screw you, I want to run my race.."


  3. Paul, it's not the reasoning that I take issue with. It's the announcement, 1 week prior to the race. If I had this information up front I could have made a decision as to whether or not I wanted to train for an pay for the race. This last minute change is crap.

    As it stands, we're doing this race because it's a DNF for himself, and because I had to walk the entire thing last time. It's in the woods, in the winter, during a new moon in south texas; there's no sweeping vistas, or starry, moonlit night. There's rooty grounds, dirt, and bark. So, yeah, it's gonna be a long, boring race.

  4. I'm not a headphone wearer, but I found the last minute announcement strange, also. At least this year you'll hear the alligators?

  5. I love the BMI advantage!

  6. I agree with you. There is a significant difference between establishing rules, well in advance of race day, that are designed for racer safety, and those implemented purely because the RD finds them to be a pet peeve of him/her.

    If a major marathon such as the Portland Marathon can call itself a mp3 player friendly marathon, a much smaller, more intimate race held away from major roadways could easily do the same if race management would realize that this is indeed 2011.

  7. Woo-hoo, looks like whining worked :)

  8. What a load of crap! I'd be just as pissed as you are! And for Paul, I only wear one earphone (in my right ear) to hear all the "on your lefts". Oh, and to hear my garmin beeping when to run and when to walk, but also for safety and to be polite.

  9. To give the lawyerly point of view, at the time you registered you agreed to the rules of the race and the MP3 rule was not one of them. If it were me, I'd write the RD and explain that if that had been a rule at the time you would not have signed up, and give him the option of reconsidering. Doubt he'll change his mind, but it is a crap thing to do a week before the race. I'd have a hard time running a mile without music, much less 50!!

  10. I think all of us as runners enjoy the camaraderie of racing but there are MANY miles for those of us slower runners that we spend alone and we are on the course longer. This is in a remote area not the NYC marathon! I agree Geekgirl!

  11. One of my pet peeves is diva runners (& RDs) who think it's not 'really' running if you wear headphones. Seriously, get over yourselves.

    For races, I'm like Kate, and wear mine in only one ear. I can hear fine, thank you. I suppose it could be annoying to others when I sing along with 'Hurts So Good' like I'm wont to do in the last miles.

  12. I agree that it sucks they announced this "rule" so late. I can't imagine running 50 miles at all....and without music, forget it!

  13. Just in case you haven't checked your email, latest from the RD says, "I have received a number of comments, some constructive with respect to the rule regarding no ipods or music players during the race. It was correctly pointed out to me that this rule was not included in the race document or on the web site for the race at the time of registration. Because of the lack of prior notice, I feel obligated for THIS RACE to not strictly impose the "no music player" rule for Rocky Raccoon."


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