the usatf has given music lovers a fantastic christmas present. at the annual meeting held earlier this month in reno, the highly controversial rule 144.3 that banned headphone use during races was amended to permit such use (at the discretion of the race director, in non-championship events). here is the effective language:
"(f) The visible possession or use by athletes of video, audio, or communications devices in the competition area. The Games Committee for an LDR event may allow the use of portable listening devices not capable of receiving communication; however, those competing in Championships for awards, medals, or prize money may not use such devices."
one important caveat, this rule change does not apply to devices "capable of receiving communications" - which, presumably is directed at cell phone use during a race. that language, however, also covers an old fashioned walk-man - how's that for a blast from the past - and, more specifically, any music device equipped with a tuner to recieve radio signals.
another important point, while the usatf rule now doesn't bar the use of headphones (i.e. music) during the race, the actual permission for such use resides within the discretion of the race director. there may be non-championship races out there where a race director will continue to prohibit headphone use during the race.
while i rarely use an ipod during races, i want that choice to be mine. i'm glad some degree of sanity has been restored.