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Runners DQ’ed for Wearing Headphones in a 10K Race

Dozens of runners were disqualified after running the Beverly 10K race in Hull, England, on May 8 because they were using portable music players and wearing headphones. A news story said the runners were alerted of the rule in an email in the days before the race and reminded before the race started.

Runners wearing headphones were told in the finish chute that their times would not be recorded in the final results. The Hull Daily News reported that 48 were ultimately DQ’ed. “If runners are wearing headphones then they can’t hear the race marshals giving them instructions and directions,” said Beverley Athletics club president Andy Tate, one of the race organizers.

The newspaper is conducting an online poll to see how readers feel about the result. As of May 10, 59 percent disagree with the disqualifications, while 41 percent agree. A few runners quoted in an online news story said they were outraged. One runner said she was “gutted” to be disqualified from the race after “training hard” for a number of months.

Some U.S. races have rules prohibiting headphones, but most allow it. USA Track & Field, the official governing body of competitive running in the U.S., amended its policy on headphones in 2008 after it became an issue at several races. It remains illegal to wear headphones in championship races, but the USATF policy leaves it up to a race director’s decision in other affiliated races.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, the world’s largest running race series, suggests runners consider not wearing headphones to optimize their race experience, but it does not prohibit the use of headphones or music devices in any race.

MORE: Hull Daily Mail