You can’t listen to your iPod because…

WE ARE A NATION AT WAR!

A friend sent this to me. She’s a runner whose husband is in the military, fighting in Iraq. She plans to run in the Army Ten-Miler here in DC, but is frustrated by the new security measures that are being taken. She wrote to the folks at the Army Ten-Miler and voiced her dismay.

She said, “Granted, my original email was somewhat of a pre-caffeine rant and not well-crafted, but “we are a nation at war” who would rather have dangerous devices without their owners in a tent full of bags closer to the seat of national security rather than on the runners (most of whom work for or with the seat of national security)…”
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This is her email and their reply. Note that the reply contains an obvious “talking point” (big surprise, huh?). And wasn’t it nice of him to remind her that we’re a nation at war? (Apparently, he skimmed over the words, “second deployment.”)

A portion of the security rules is at the end.
————————————————————
To: ARMYTENMILER
Subject: Security restrictions

I’m a bit flummoxed by the new security restrictions. While I’ll run this army ten miler as I’ve already paid, I doubt I’ll be back again. I generally run with small items for safety. No headphones is a significant annoyance (my husband is deployed and have a set of songs that make me think of him—it’s the whole reason I started running the ten miler when I came to DC and this is his second deployment), but no cellphones, heart monitors, etc. is rather extreme. Such security restrictions are rather over the top, and illogical. I’ve been to many races all over different parts of DC, I work next to the white house, and in all instances there are literally millions of folks walking about with small convenience devices such as headphones, heart monitors, and cellphones. While some people are not considerate and can be annoying, in the tens of races I’ve done over twenty years I’ve never seen an outright ban of headphones outside of school-races and Olympic or other competitive events. I notice GPS devices were not on the list—was that an oversight? I could run with my camera, but not my cell phone? And most of the prohibited devices are allowed at the staging area, but not at the starting line? This just doesn’t make much sense. How am I supposed to connect with my friends after the race without a phone to call them—it’s possible but rather difficult at times especially when there are lots of tired runners milling about. If folks are that concerned with security, then it might make sense to consider a change to the starting line to prevent folks milling about with these devices if that’s the concern. If this is an attempt to build up security to help make up for last year’s failure to sweep the course before the race started, I think it’s an over-correction.

I am sorry to sound so terse, but I’m extremely frustrated with this new security rule which seems to have little benefit and yet detracts from the enjoyment and peace of mind for many runners. I urge folks to reconsider.

The REPLY:

From: XXXX On Behalf Of ARMYTENMILER
Sent: Monday, October 02, 2006 8:39 AM
To:
Subject: RE: Security restrictions

Understand your frustration and apologize for the inconvenience. However, our # 1 priority remains a safe and secure race.

As with previous races, this year’s runners are subject to additional security measures that other public races may not enforce. This is the Army’s race, it is conducted at the Pentagon, and we are a nation at war.

We strive to provide an outstanding running experience for all our runners. Appreciate your input…..
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Army Ten-Miler Security Restrictions

NEW! Race Day Security Notice and Course Restrictions

Our # 1 priority remains a safe and secure race. As with previous races, this year’s runners are subject to additional security measures that other public races may not enforce.

The following items are not permitted in the Start Line area: Camelbaks or any other hydration systems, water belts, fitness heart monitors, bags, backpacks, coolers, strollers, baby-joggers, skateboards, rollerblades, bicycles, animals, water bottles, fanny packs, iPods, radios/headphones, cell phones, or Blackberrys.

These items must be checked at the Garment area (Metro bus terminal) prior to going to the Start Line.

The following items are allowed at the Start Line area:
Wrist Watches, American Flags, and 2oz – 6oz gel packets.
Media – cameras and camera equipment/bags (are subject to search)

Spectators will not be allowed in the Start Line area.

Runners will be required to pass thru a security check point and show their race number to access the Start Line area. Runners will be required to line up behind the balloon arch that matches the color of their race number.

Family, friends, and spectators are all encouraged to show their support and enjoy the festivities in the Main Staging area at the Finish Line. The following items are allowed in the Main Staging area:

Small Purses, Runners bags, Strollers, Baby-joggers, Water bottles, Fanny packs, iPods, Radios/headphones, and cell phones.

All individuals will pass thru a security gate and are subject to search. Any items deemed to be a security threat will not be allowed. Please contact either the ATM Office or the Public Affairs office at xxx.

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