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Performance-Enhancing iPod Gets Woman Disqualified From Marathon Victory

October 9, 2009

Written by Michael Tunison of the Sporting Blog

28007154_goebel lakefront marathon 2009In what may be the first enforcement of a controversial ban on music devices by elite runners in long distance races in the U.S., a 27-year-old woman was disqualified from the top spot in the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee because race officials spotted her using an iPod during a later portion of the race.

Jennifer Goebel assumed the top female finish in the race after a faster runner, Cassie Peller, was disqualified for receiving a water bottle from a friend outside an official water station. Now Goebel’s time of 3:02:50 has been nullified as well, thanks to a contentious 2007 rule put into place banning headphones or portable music devices by U.S. Track and Field, the governing body for running events.

She’s obviously upset about the ruling, pointing out that she only used it between miles 19 and 21. Race officials only decided to take action against Goebel when put under pressure by posters from an online forum who complained that Peller was being unfairly targeted. The forum users found an image of Goebel with the iPod that Goebel had herself shared online.

Even though USTAF claims the rule was put in place for worries about a competitive edge as well as safety concerns about runners not being able to hear race announcements, last year the organization relaxed the rule, allowing race directors to decide whether or not they would enforce it.

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