The USATF changed the rule about headphones! Read the articles here and here.
I am MUCH happier with the new rule. I know that most runners have an opinion about using headphones during a race, and I know some of those opinions are different from mine.
But I don't see any reason why non-elite runners can't run with headphones during a race. I know the arguments... but I have never been in a race where I have seen someone having headphones to cause a problem. I'd say most (and I do say most, not all) runners are smart and considerate enough to leave the volume low enough so that they can still know what's going on.
I'm not going to lie... I broke the rule in a few races. In particular, I used my headphones when I walked the Memphis Half. I mean, I was walking for crying out loud. Not only would I have been bored out of my mind if I didn't have music, I was also really aware of everything around me.
I'm glad to know that it is now at the race director's discretion. I know there will still be some races that won't allow headphones, but a lot of the smaller races I run here at home might not worry about them as much now that it's not a rule they HAVE to enforce (although I wore mine in a lot of race because the rule wasn't enforced... so I guess those race director's had already decided they weren't going to worry about it much other than to just tell people it was supposed to be the rule).
Anyways, I am pleased. I had heard the rule would likely be amended this year at the USATF meeting, and I'm really glad that they changed it to allow the choice to be made by race directors. I like wearing my music in some races, so I'm glad to know that there's more of a chance now that I won't be a rulebreaker if I do.
(And yes, I just admitted that I've broken the rule before. I'm such a rebel.)