This morning's New York Times carried an interesting article ("Rule Jostles Runners Who Race To Their Own Tune") on the topic. The articled talked about the push for race organizers to ban iPods and other music players and the difficulty of enforcing such a rule. Possible penalties breaking the rule include disqualification from the race, but a race like the NYC Marathon--with 40,000 runners--is hard to police. The issue for organizers is the insurance liability of runners oblivious to everything going on around them and failing to hear instructions or the runners they're about to trip up. For runners who favor iPods, the issue is simply getting them through the race.
I've made my preference clear, and again it's a personal preference. However, I don't know about banning their use completely, but at the same time I do understand why organizers may want to be cautious about allowing them in such a litigious society as ours. Perhaps running without music players should just be a part of the challenge of racing. If you're going to participate in an organized race just accept that you'll have to do it without Sisqo blaring through your earbuds. I still argue that races are fun enough on their own without the aid of iPods. Enjoy the experience!
If you insist on running with an iPod, I will at least recommend that you include LCD Soundsystem, the Little Ones, Battles, and the Go! Team in your playlist. If you want more recommendations I have more. Just ask.
Here's a picture of me enjoying the San Jose Rock n Roll Half Marathon iPod-less.
Let me ask you: who looks happier than I?