Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Banning Chariots of Fire


The first and second place finishers in the 2009 Lakefront Marathon were disqualified because of rules violations.  One of the runners, Jennifer Goebel, was disqualified because she used her iPod during the race.  The other runner got water along the sideline that was not at a designated official station.  The iPod ruling, of course, is the more interesting.

The USATF softened its ban on iPods or similar systems late last year, but anyone competing for a cash prize or a USATF award is still barred from using an electronic device. Similarly, the rule regarding outside assistance is generally applied only to top race contenders.

Their times, 3:02:09 and 3:02:50, are well off Olympic standards and wouldn’t have been top 10 even in the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon.

With the disqualifications, those times and their finish positions will be erased.

Rightly so, according to Sean Ryan, the Green Bay Marathon race director. The runners themselves are responsible for knowing and following the rules, he said.

“Nobody likes taking blame for their own failures,” he said. “It’s fairly clear to me it was an error on the part of the runner, so there’s little room for debate.” 

Unfortunately the Journal Sentinel report doesn’t explain why there is a rule against using iPods. After all, wouldn’t the advantage of hearing the theme from Rocky or a little Vangelis be offset by the extra bulk of the iPod (admittedly small) and the annoying headphones?

I’m clearly not a marathon runner. If I was, my stops at the designated aid stations wouldn’t be for water but for the portable AED. (Clear! Okay Mr. Wigderson, you’re good to go!)

I’m curious just how much of an advantage Eddie Money’s “Give Me Some Water” really is.

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