Alan Gowen

The Dreaded Personal Listening Device Issue

As a result of the growing popularity of our great VHTRC runs, it was only a matter of time until The Bored could no longer ignore the dreaded personal listening device issue.  You know.  Say they’re OK?  Discourage them? Ban them all together?  Our insurance allows the use of personal listening devices, but it also requires we not do anything that can be taken as actively encouraging their use, and this means we can’t put off addressing the dreaded PLD policy any longer.

In a nut shell, this is what we came up with.  We don’t want to ban these things.  We simply want runners to be considerate of others with whom they are sharing the trails.

Some runners remain aware of what’s going on around them and some don’t, and for some runners the use of PLDs is part of this.  We want to remind everyone that on trail runs it is bad manners to be oblivious to one’s surroundings.  We’re not banning PLDs, just suggesting that runners be aware and be considerate of others.  This really applies more to runs like the WHM and the beginning of BRR than to MMT or PHT.  So it’s OK to have PLDs, but it’s not OK to use bad judgment as to when you turn them up. Sometimes it’s just plain annoying to be out there with someone who is in another world, especially when you are trying to pass a runner who can’t hear you and doesn’t know you’re even there.

We tried different approaches to this, and after we weighed all the different angles I’m pretty happy with what we came up with.

Personal Listening Device Policy Statement

The VHTRC discourages the use of personal listening devices by runners participating in our events.  Runners using PLDs are less aware of their surroundings, and can impair other runners, especially on narrow and / or congested portions of the course.  Please refrain from using earphones, ear buds, headphones, or any other device that impairs your ability to hear what is going on around you when you participate in our ultra distance events, especially where there is any chance at all that your lack of awareness may have an impact on any other runner.  For runs shorter than ultra distance you should not carry a PLD at all. It is impolite and simply out of place.

BTW.  This has nothing to do with, and should not be confused with, the new MMT Solo Division requirement of no headphone use.  That is an entirely different matter designed to add an additional small amount of self sufficiency and greater challenge to the other tougher demands of that particular competition.

So.  This is our new policy concerning the dreaded personal listening devise issue.  I think this pretty well covers it.  Of course nothing is forever chiseled in stone, and I certainly welcome feedback on this, or any other issue.  In the meantime, be careful; use your good manners, and Happy Trails.