• Marathon Winner Disqualified for Listening to iPod

    image via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    The winner of a marathon in Milwaukee, Wisc. was stripped of her title after photos showed she had an iPod on her during the race. Competitors going for US Track and Field championships and/or cash prizes are prohibited from using any electronic devices while running.

    The rule has caused a great deal of controversy among runners. It was relaxed by US Track and Field officials in the last year, leaving it up to the race directors in specific competitions to decide if electronic devices are to be allowed. As a result, a two-tiered standard has emerged average runners are generally permitted to use a music player, but elite runners are not.

    Jennifer Goebel, 27, got a time of 3:02:50 and came in second after the winning runner was disqualified for accepting a water bottle from a friend. She disagrees with the outcome, and says she's being unfairly singled out for a harmless act. "If they're going to disqualify me for having an iPod they should disqualify everyone who had one," she said. "It's just a little ridiculous. I went there to have a fun race with my friends."

    After the original winner, Cassie Peller, was disqualified, her supporters discovered Goebel's iPod in an online photo album, and complained that Peller had been unfairly singled out by race officials, and that Goebel also deserved to be disqualified.

    Goebel, for her part, said she is willing to give up the $500 prize for listening to her iPod, but feels her win should stand. "I wasn't listening to [the iPod] earlier in the race," she said. "I wasn't going to put the music on unless I thought I needed it. If you're bored, it pumps you up a little bit. Sometimes, on a long training run, I'll bring it along for the last half hour. When I run marathons sometimes I carry it and never put it on."
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