NCHSAA: NO GPS Watches at Regional or State Meet

The popularity of GPS watches has skyrocketed over the last few years. More and more runners use these watches to measure distance, pace, and heart rate. They have become so popular that the NCHSAA has had to ban them from regional and state meet competition.



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  • cviles / 4 Years Ago
    Is this a ban on 'using' or 'wearing'. Can anyone send a link to the actual rule? I just looked on the NCHSAA website and couldn't find anything.
  • CoachHovis / 4 Years Ago
    @cviles It just said "is illegal". My interpretation is that it should not be worn at all.
  • MPR3 / 4 Years Ago
    Anyone know the reason behind this new rule. Why would it matter if a runner weres a GPS watch? Also, can they wear a regular Timex Ironman watch?
  • jds0130 / 4 Years Ago
    anything that can tell you your distance and pace and all that stuff is considered a competitive advantage.
  • MPR3 / 4 Years Ago
    Like mile markers, or split times, or a coach??????

    I think McAlpine has distance markers every 200 meters. Coaches are always yelling out splits at a mile point or telling a runner to speed up or slow down based on a split (thereby giving the kid a sense of if their pace is too fast or slow). Just seems like a strange rule to me.
  • blueskydwg / 4 Years Ago
    Well, couple of thoughts.
    1. I can see how the GPS watch might help - by setting on current pace that might help the runner early in the first mile keep their pace down - we know that going out too fast is a common problem, and it could help in the middle of the race to pick the pace up - need something to offset the pain.
    2. Going to be difficult to police. The new GPS watches are not much bigger than a regular running watch. Are the meet directors going to check out each runner? Or just say no watches at all?
  • CoachViggs / 4 Years Ago
    I do not think this is classified as illegal in a race. Read NFHS rule 4 Setction 5 article 8 NOTEs 1.
  • apeoples / 4 Years Ago
    One of the reasons is if it does give a competitive advantage it is probably not available to everyone. It just came up in the past few days and required a quick ruling through the NCHSAA. At least this way there is no question about unfair advantage. Who knows they may be legal next year. Remember when watches were illegal? It seems that most of the opinions have some merit and thought, but where do they fit in the continuum of xc and track and field?

    J Alan Peoples
  • CoachSides / 4 Years Ago
    This falls in to the same category as cameras and electronic devices that can give an athlete an advantage over an opponent. I could see this ban like the watch ban being lifted when like the watches everyone has them. There is some advantage to knowing distance and time, but it is no where near the advantage video and photos give to athletes. Video is a tremendous teaching tool for practice, but in competition you just have to save it for later.
  • CoachViggs / 4 Years Ago
    I completely dissagree. It is not an aid unless it beeps or does pacing. They need to rethink this. IT IS not covered by the NFHS so this ban is strictly a state ban. IF the NFHS puts it in next year then it will be addressed. This is unfortunate for any athlete who has used them the whole season. As far as I am concerned - I hate having watches to begin with... but that is my personal choice... If athletes were allowed to use them at the start of the season then they need to change the fule for 2011 not now...
  • HWPixHend / 4 Years Ago
    What GPS watch doesn't do pacing? Why would a runner wear a GPS watch for any other reason while running a known distance? FWIW, my son has used a GPS watch for at least 3 or 4 years all the time for his daily training runs and his off season road races (for pacing purposes) but never in a high school or AAU race. Honestly, we never thought of him doing so as it just didn't seem right in those kind of competitive races. The rule is no big deal. A runner shouldn't be dependent on one to run well
  • kelkrikar3g / 4 Years Ago
    who cares? the fastest runner winners. the watch does not run the race.
  • jesusfreak34 / 4 Years Ago
    What is different about a watch pacing you or another person that is not in the race? This time in the year, you should know what your pace should be, especially if you have ran all year without one, The coaches calling out times is for their runners, but everyone hears the times and can adjust to where they need to be. I agree, the faster runners wins the races, but, GPS watches can give you an advantage, just run baby, that will take care of the rest
  • ajh1228 / 4 Years Ago
    Not that I care either way and just as a FYI it is not illegal in the 2011 rule book by rule 4.6.7 note 2 on page 26 and further explained and deemed legal in the 2011 case book on 4.6.7 situation D on page 43.
  • HWPixHend / 4 Years Ago
    @ajh1228 Are you trying to say that the NCHSAA hasn't deemed the GPS watches illegal (and/or that they don't have the right to deem them illegal) for these events?
  • ajh1228 / 4 Years Ago
    @HWPixHend I am saying by the rule book that we will use for track and cross country for 2011 put out by the NFHS they are legal. Now if the NCHSAA deems them illegal then I guess they choose which of these rules they want to follow and which ones they don't. Here is the explanation in the new case book for this rule word for word.

    4.6.7 Situation D: At the 1200-meter mark of the 1600-meter run, the umpire: (a) observerses a runner checking his or her wrist watch for a split time, or (b) hears an audible beep from a runner's watch. The umpire reports the incidents to the meet referee. RULING: No infraction in (a) or (b). COMMENT: A watch is permitted to be worn. Although serveral complaints have emrged about beeping watches, the rules do not prohibit a beep from a watch that may be both distracting to other runners and/or also serve as a pacing aid.
  • HWPixHend / 4 Years Ago
    @ajh1228 I think it is safe to say NCHSAA can add to NFHS rules as they see fit therefore, the watches are illegal for these events as the NCHSAA has stated which is all that really matters, IMO. You've kind of tried to dance around that part I assume because you have no argument against it (since there isn't one). They say they are illegal and therefore, they are, end of story. I guess you could have one of your runners wear one and try to fight their disqualification, but I wouldn't recommend that action as I don't think you'd have a chance of prevailing.
  • ajh1228 / 4 Years Ago
    @HWPixHend I agree totally with what you say and I would never tell any of my kids to wear them. I personally don't like my kids to wear watches at all. The problem I have is the NCHSAA makes these add ons to the rules but does a poor job of informing all coaches. Then me, who is usually on a rules committee/games comittee has to explain to an irate coach that his kid is dqed because he didn't know the NCHSAA added on to a rule when he is showing me the rule I gave you.
  • RunnerRunner / 4 Years Ago
    I just see GPS watches as training tools. On race day, the runner needs to run his/her race that they've trained all season to do. There are clocks and people calling out splits along the entire course. If you are going to allow pacing devices, you might as well just go ahead and allow pacers and rabbits to run alongside the individual runners. Obviously, that's crazy and it's not going to happen. You have to level the playing field on raceday. Some athletes don't have the advantage of having a nice, expensive GPS watch. And yes, my kids have them to use in training, but they have never even asked to use them in a race. Let adrenaline and "race smarts" be the pacing device. Can't see them ever being allowed in a State Championship race unless every athlete has one. We've always assumed they were illegal, and I really can't see why a coach or athlete would complain about not being able to use one. Either you are ready to run or you're not.
  • MPR3 / 4 Years Ago
    I don't know the rules completely so help me out here. Would it be a foul or against the rules for a school to have someone stationed at every 400 meters on a course (assuming it was a spot on the course where access was allowed) and those people call out splits only to a runner on their team. If that wouldn't be illegal why is a GPS watch, it accomplishes the exact same thing. I would by the leveling the play field arguement if all schools were given the exact same funding and number of coaches and active parents and coaches at the same knowledge level. But since we know that is not the case then the playing field isn't level and the GPS watches don't really give anyone an unfair advantage anymore than having an extra coach at the meets. I could argue that GPS watches actually level the playing field for smaller schools who have less coaches. Either way I don't see this rule lasting very long.
  • Running4life10 / 4 Years Ago
    That is ridiculous, those watches don't make a runner run faster or anything a watch is a watch. It has no affect on anyone. If the kids want to run with a GPS watch then let them, it is not affecting anyone by those kids wearing them. The runner runs the race not the watch so there is no reason why these kids can't wear the watches they pent a lot of money on to buy. So this is ridiculous that NCHSSA will not let these high school kids wear GPS watches in a race. If I went out and spent $200 on a watch I am going to wear the watch no matter what anyone tells me. I mean these kids are getting looked at for how they run and how fast they run not by the watch they wear so pretty much the NCHSSA is in the wrong on this subject by not letting the kids wear GPS watches.
  • HWPixHend / 4 Years Ago
    @Running4life10 By all means then, wear your GPS watch. See what happens. Show them who's boss!! See where that gets you.......LOL
  • Running4life10 / 4 Years Ago
    @ajh1228 well that is ridiculous because those kids are not in the wrong for anything. If the kids want to spend money on the watches then let them wear them. As I said those watches don't run the race the kids do. So the NCHSSA is in the wrong for not letting these kids wear these expensive watches they have spent money on to by. If I were one of these kids parents and my child couldn't wear a watch I have spent my hard earned money on I would be furious with what they have you have done to my child.
  • blueskydwg / 4 Years Ago

    There are three major factors that will impact how a racer does in a race.
    1. Their natural ability
    2. Their training - how well they are taking advantage of that ability
    3. Their pacing - let me repeat that - their pacing.

    Just as a car will get better gas mileage when run at a constant speed vs. speeding up and slowing down, so too will a racer get the most from their body if they can run the entire race at or near their maximum sustainable pace.

    Having the ability to look at your wrist and see exactly what your current pace is, and then to be able to make minor adjustments to maintain your goal pace is a MAJOR advantage. The natural incentive at the start of a race, with all the adrenaline pumping in the body is to run the first mile much faster than your maximum sustainable pace. The result is the next two miles will be much slower - the result is along the lines of 3 seconds lost for every second gained in the first mile. So if you can keep from "gaining" those first 15 or 20 seconds - you will run a better overall time by 30 or 40 seconds.

    Proper pacing is one of the hardest things to teach and to learn. (Coaches - feel free to jump in here either in agreement or disagreement). It is also a major factor in many xcountry races - given two racers of near equal natural talent and training, the race will be won by the one who does the best at maintining an even pace.

    So, that is why the GPS watch can provide an advantage - I'll leave it to others to debate whether that is an "unfair" advantage or not.
  • Running4life10 / 4 Years Ago
    @blueskydwg But the ting is when I was in high school and I ran for Matt Reep he always wore a GPS watch and it helped us know when to speed and slow down and pace but the thing is that watch does not prove who is going to win that race and if everyone had GPS watches then that means they would be okay to wear them? The thing is the watches don't make a runner a better runner it is how much time and dedication a runner is willing to work at it and make themselves a better runner. These watches are not affecting anyone except the people that are in the back of the pack anyways and have no chance in winning that's why the NCHSSA has said no GPS watches at regional or state meets. To tell you the truth the guys and girl who are at the front of the pack aren't going to get beat by a kid who is wearing a GPS watch, because the kids at the front are in better shape and can just out run everyone so thats why the NCHSSA are saying no GPS watches. But if you don't let the kids with the GPS watches wear them then why can the kids with just regular watches wear them answer that question?