No headphones allowed…

48 people fell foul of the UKA headphone ban in the Beverly 10k that took place on the 8th may 2016 and were disqualified. This is a new rule that came into force on 1st April 2016.

In a lot of running races, predominantly road races without closures, you are told when you sign up on the event website, in the race instructions you receive by email and often on the day during the race brief that you’re not allowed to wear headphones due to health and safety issues.

Well as of the 1st April 2016 the UK athletics association made it an official rule for certain types of races, see the below statement issued by the

From 1 April 2016 a new rule regarding the wearing of head phones in road races was introduced into the 2016-2018 edition of the UKA Rules of Competition.

“The wearing of headphones, or similar devices, (other than those medically prescribed), is not permitted in races on any single carriageway road that is not wholly closed to traffic.

This restriction does not apply to races held on dual carriageways provided that there are clear, structured separations between the separate carriageways. Competition Providers of races held entirely on roads closed to traffic may apply this condition where appropriate to local circumstances.”

Race Directors may apply the condition to any race where they consider the wearing of headphones to be a hazard – including, for example, where runners must be able to hear marshals’ instructions or on a lap course, and UKA will support the race director where that local condition is applied.

Enforcement of this rule is a matter for the race director and referee and disqualification of runners who choose to ignore it is an option.

Race Directors should state at the point of entry and in all pre-race publicity whether or not headphones are banned because failure to do so could result in many runners appearing on the day expecting to run with them.

The rule book is available for reference at or to buy from Harry Hitchcock Ltd, Lyon House, 16 Lyon Road, Walton on Thames, Surrey, KT12 3PU; 01932 225591

The warnings were put out there, the rules published by the events organisers (official rules laid down by the UKA who issue the race license) so those who ran in the Beverly 10k and chose to ignore it were rewarded with a DQ, all 48 of them that were caught.

You can read more about that here;

Can’t say they weren’t warned….

There’s been a lot of discussion on forums and running groups about it with people being up in arms about the rules being changed, toys were thrown, nonsensical arguments posted and petulant comments made.

I can’t see what the big deal is personally, if I don’t like terms & conditions enforced on me for whatever reason they don’t get my money and I go elsewhere, and I really don’t see a problem with following this rule anyway.

Funnily enough, during the QE marathon in April, as I was reaching the halfway point, there were half marathon runners being directed off to the left to the finish rather than starting the next loop. The guy in front of me, a half marathon runner, continued on past his turn oblivious even with everyone shouting after him that he needs to turn. Headphones in, unable to hear people shouting at him.

I have no opinion either way about headphones. I don’t wear them very often as I prefer to hear what’s going on around me, but I found it amusing at the time, I doubt he was particularly happy about adding all the extra time and distance on to his half as he had to run back up the hill to take the turn.

I doubt those that were disqualified at Beverly are amused, but thems the rules, break them at your own risk! I’m expecting to see a lot more articles about this over the coming months as it becomes more enforced and affects more people.

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