I have no idea why people run marathons.
It seems a peculiar act of masochism in which people actually die. (As evidence, might I point to two deaths in the recent San Jose, Calif., half-marathon.)
But many humans seem to enjoy the pain and the sense of achievement they feel when they finally get wrapped up in BacoFoil like a Sunday chicken.
So why should they be prevented from humming along to a little Jo Jo Gunne or being soothed by a lecture from Dr. Sanjay Gupta along the way?
I only ask because in the recent and extremely celebrated Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee, Jennifer Goebel was disqualified from her rightful position of winner.
According to the Journal-Sentinel, Goebel was garlanded with victory only after Cassie Peller, who actually ran the fastest, was erased from the podium because she accepted liquid from someone who was not manning an official watering station. Which does seem to be on the wrong side of fastidious.
Goebel was then declared to have won. But her afterglow of superiority only lasted a couple of days.
Some no doubt anally mean-spirited individual examined a photo of Goebel taken during the race and noticed an iPod discreetly tucked into her shorts.
Goebel, a massage therapist in real life, was competing in the elite part of the marathon and these highly tuned women are subject to the whims of the USA Track and Field bureaucracy.
These waxy eared folks frown on the use of iPods while sweating. Well, at least I think they do. It appears that the rule was changed not so long ago to allow race directors the discretion to ignore the rule if they so choose.
Goebel is, understandably, somewhat miffed.
"I wasn't listening to it earlier in the race," she told the Journal-Sentinel. "I wasn't going to put the music on unless I thought I needed it."
And of course she needed it. Running a marathon is the athletic equivalent of knitting a wedding marquee.
As Goebel herself so eloquently put 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."
She only listened between miles 19 and 21, which--if you ask most runners--is the time that you are ready to eat raw elk and physically assault a mail box.
Anyone who believes it will improve their life to don a pair of New Balance and run until their knees squeak like wounded varmints should not be subjected to silly little rules. They should be allowed to eat, drink and listen to whatever gets them to the other end of the experience.
Although perhaps there should be a no Kenny G rule? For safety's sake, you understand.