Why are you trying to make it harder?

As a consequence of running a race last Sunday at Longleat, and of spending a bit of time on the www.runnersworld.co.uk forum this week, there are a couple of things irking me this week.

The first thing is people running races with dogs. Now, as you will probably know, I'm a massive dog lover, and would gladly train with my own dog if doing so didn't risk me breaking my neck or losing him. I would never though, drag a dog round a race, or force a dog to drag me round a race, as I saw at Longleat on Sunday.

Several runner's raced holding their dogs' leads, and one lady even wore a strap around her waist, securing the dog to her. Her poodle was massive and was clearly helping her round the course.

There are so many reasons why racing with your dog is a bad idea. For starters, the dog may be scared by all the crowds and could easily get trodden on. Secondly it's hard enough to overtake slower runners, let alone if there are dogs attached to them. Thirdly the dog can't drink on the run as you can, so is likely to get dehydrated.

And another thing, some people are scared of dogs and will be made to feel very uncomfortable if they know there's one behind them. Yes it might make them run a bit faster, but it's still not fair to put them in that position.

Ok, that's the first gripe out of the way.

Next is the news that apparently race organisers are going to start banning iPods from races. I use Nike+ (sensor in my shoe that links up to my iPod), so my iPod is not only my source of entertainment but it is my stopwatch, and pace monitor. The entertainment part isn't so much of a problem on a short race, but I expect the marathon to take over four hours, and need music to get me through.

I know the crowd will be buzzing and that's all very well, but I need my inspirational songs, and enjoy listening to them as I go round because the demands I face in my everyday life are such that I get very little time to listen to music, and this is one of the few opportunities I get to listen to the tunes I love.

Of course I love being out in the countryside and sometimes opt for peace and quiet, but I am not happy about the prospect of having this decision forced upon me. Four hours!

The argument is that it's dangerous because people can't hear what's going on around them, but if you keep the volume down what's the problem? I could hear loads of people panting behind me when I raced the other day. I just think it's totally unnecessary to ban iPods from races, and that it's going to upset a lot of runners.

Why are people trying to making running any more challenging than it already is? It's just not fair.

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Image by mroth


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