Thursday, 19 September 2013

Is technology ruining our sport.....

......... Or am I just becoming a grumpy old man?

It may seem strange to suggest that technology is having an adverse effect on athletics and running in particular.  Especially with the improvements in running tracks, advances in running footwear and clothing and improvements in timing systems to name but a few.

During the seventies runners were split between the elite and the club runner, with the latter, in a lot of  cases, being looked upon as slightly strange.  Then during the eighties, there came the 'running boom'.  I was probably among the first wave of 'running boomers' to join an athletics club and as such was educated in the training methods of the time.  Which if you had to sum it up in a word, would be mileage.

Following on from the boom, running became more popular and the concept of the fun run took off. The result is that now distances such as 10km, half marathon and the marathon are almost seen as a right of passage with the emphasis placed upon completion rather than racing for place and time.

Returning to the original question then, advances in technology running alongside this increase in participation has seen a number of flash points.  The most common of which being the wearing of headphones during races which has resulted in some runners being disqualified and some race organisers attempting to ban there use during the race.

But now there seems to be a new problem - the smart phone, and in particular the 'selfie'. Organisers of this years Hong Kong marathon are campaigning against entrants taking photos of themselves during the race.

The reason for this campaign follows an incident at the start of a 10km where a woman stopped to take a 'selfie', dropping her phone she stooped to retrieve it causing a number of runners behind her to trip and fall, including the eventual race winner.

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