The Portland [Oregon] Marathon WILL be MP3-player friendly this year. Old news to anyone that already registered but new to me, so I thought I should pass it along.
The Portland Marathon is MP3 friendly: so, "Plug-in"
We have recently received a number of inquiries regarding our marathon's policy on participants use of MP3's while running or walking in our event. The answer is simple: we allow MP3's, iPods, cell phones, etc. The reason: we have a closed marathon course with no cars, no bikes, no skateboards, dogs or other impacting features. Our only rule is that for those using such devices...we expect they will do so in a reasonable way and use common sense. We have had no problems on the course historically when our participants have worn MP3's or used cell phones. On those few occasions when ambulances have needed to come onto the course participants see and hear the flashing lights and sirens and react accordingly. So we are officially declaring the Portland Marathon as the MP3 friendly marathon. Our motto for all this is: "Plug-in!"
The controversy in our industry regarding MP3 players and the like grows out of a questionable rule passed by the UST&F Long Distance Running Committee last December. This rule without other explanation barred nearly every type of electronic device from use by a participant in a road run or walking event. This included MP3's of all types, iPods, head sets, Walkmans and even cells phones.
It is easy to understand the use of such a rule in a club running or walking event where runners and walkers might be impacted by cars and other vehicles sharing a road on which participants are running or walking. However, if the course is closed to vehicles there are few reasons not to allow the use of cell phones or head sets.
Moreover, if those using the MP3's or head sets are doing so in a way that is reasonable and using common sense there should be no problems. Obviously, runners and walkers need to listen to announcements at the start of an event. If runners and walkers are told the course will roll up at an eight hour pace and that MP3's and head sets should no longer be used after this point we believe our participants will comply. Historically they have done so in Portland. Our event believes it has the means to be sure we can communicate with participants on our closed course or at the start.
There will be no draconian measures taken against runners and walkers who train with MP3's and want to use them in our event. Spread the word: the Portland Marathon is the "Plug-in" marathon and is MP3 friendly!