I ran it without earphones and did my best time ever. Turning up late and starting at the back caused enough urgency to get my legs going. I saw runners with earphones, I don't think it was a great issue. I can understand why the rule was in place though because on a few occasions you end up running on the road with traffic.
Well, the Wolverhampton Half Marathon is tomorrow and I'll be running it without my mp3 player as the rules state.
I usually train with music because I enjoy the combination of the two. I have found that I can run faster with it because when a song plays at the right moment I get excitable and increase my pace. When running in a race I will naturally increase my pace to swallow up runners in front of me. Overtaking is fun! I'm not an elite runner so there are always people to chase after.
All but one of the races I've run without music. The one exception was the Brum Half last year which I ran with music. For the majority of the race it just served to provide a rhythm, a metronome for my legs. However, the combination of personal family motivation, a great deal of support and the second half of Up with the Birds by Coldplay kicking in on the home straight made the finishing experience an emotional one. I'm not a huge fan of Coldplay but that song hit the spot at the right moment and created a good memory. I did my fastest time too.
To balance that little anecdote I do feel that moments when everything falls into place like that are rare. I didn't fully experience the majority of the course, support and entertainment because I had my own isolated soundtrack distracting me.
So to summarise... I will continue to train with music but run races without, feeling confident that muscle memory will keep a natural rhythm. Being concerned that you can't run without music is just a confidence issue. Just take a chance, run without music and embrace the experience. One less crutch will make it all the more empowering.
I've run this two years in a row and loved it both times. As mentioned, the changing space and bag storage facilities in the NIA is conveniently close to the start and finish. The starting line is busy but well organised. To ease congestion there are two starting channels which merge into one a little further along. We are assured that neither has an advantage over the other. There was plenty of local support with a selection of DJs, bands in doorways, groups of kettle drums, war drums and brass bands to keep you entertained. The climb towards the end is a tough one but if you've been training hills you should be fine. Once you've tackled that ascent you'll soon come to the finish where cheering from large crowds can be heard from a distance. The encouragement is exihilerating and you'll find that many runners will feed off of this and get a final burst of energy in the home straight. You'll get a medal, a T-shirt and various other freebies for your efforts but it's the characters who run along side you and the support along the way that make it a good experience.
I'm running again this year and have pursuaded a few more family members and friends to join in too. Training has gone well so far so hopefully the weather will be dry as I'll be attempting to beat my previous year's time.