We received an email today from the California International Marathon -- never too early, we suppose, to start trawling for 2009 entrants -- but the big news was buried near the bottom of the fact sheet:
"In 2008, USA Track & Field (governing body for distance running, race walking and track & field events) modified its rule banning electronic devices at road racing events. Each event's management team may now determine whether or not to allow these devices. USATF and the Road Runners Club of America continue to recommend that particpants do not use electronic devices (NOTE: That's the CIM's bold face, not mine) during the event. The CIM wholeheartedly agrees with this recommendation, but has not instituted a rule banning them. Be aware that using electronic devices during the race could compromise your safety and that of other runners."
I, personally, don't use my iPod during races or long training runs. But, yes, on days I don't feel motivated, I'll strap them on.
Many races frown on headphones (for insurance, if not aesthetic, reasons) but allow them because so many runners these days are dependant on them. The reason I don't wear them in races is two fold: (1) I want to hear my breathing and stay intune with my body during the race; (2) It just seems so anti-social.
I mean, if it takes blaring rock music in your ear buds to motivate you during a race, you must not be that motivated to race. I'm just sayin'.