I recently ran in the Melbourne Marathon, my second of the year after not having raced in one for four years. Having raced in a number of shorter events in that time and in the lead up, I was prepared for the prevalent use of headphones from iPods. Although technically against the rules and not something I’ve ever found the attraction to, it didn’t bug me in the slightest.
But then I got into the thick of the marathon and was gobsmacked to encounter fellow runners using mobile phones to call people in the middle of the race. Just past half way, as the reality starts to set in and generally a quiet descends on the field, I had to deal with the chitter-chater of a fellow runner calling his friend/wife/girlfriend/partner/butler/maid/etc (ok, so I made a few of those options up) and trying to arrange a position and time to meet them, where they should be, where he would pass them, what drink to have.
For me, this was a first. I might be showing my absence from the marathon scene, but this caught me off guard. Is this really what marathoning has become? Is it legit, much less polite to use a phone while running in a marathon?
A Runners World post dating back to 2008 seems to indicate that this problem may have been around for a while. I suppose in reality it’s no different to talking to the person next to you in the race or running with a training buddy, but there was something about it that just irked me. Given headphones are against IAAF and most major marathon rules, I can only assume that mobile phone use is also.
That’s my rant for the time been; what is it that other runners do that annoy you in a race?