The Marathon Diaries: Wired for Sound?

With the demise of my latest set of headphones and a few runs listening to the sound of my own footsteps (no bad thing) it set me to thinking about the methods I’ve used in order to hear a little image‘live’ music on the run over the years.

When I began running long ago than I care to remember in my school days such a ‘miracle’ wasn’t really possible. The smallest sources of music were diminutive transistor radios and no one at that time had the forethought to invent something that was truly portable – in a running sense at least.

The seventies grew more mature and whilst in my first ‘proper’ job as an apprentice compositor in the print trade, I rustled up the money for a brand new piece of technology entitled the ‘Sony Walkman’ The pic shows something very similar to the small metallic box with the magic sound. What an innovation! This new concept in music on the move wasn’t even ruined by a cheesy Cliff Richard hit of the time by the same name of my title here.

“Walkin’ about with a head full of music
Cassette in my pocket and I’m gonna use it – stereo
-out on the street you know-woh oh woh…”

I still have that original Sony Walkman. It’s in a thousand bit in a polythene bag in a cupboard somewhere but one of these days…

imageThe big problem was of course the fact that whilst running, the Walkman would bounce around alarmingly. Keeping those headphones in place was something of a problem too. I gave up on the idea for some time. That time was punctuated with a newer and slightly smaller Walkman which didn’t really solve the enigma either.

Years of running passed. I even had to seek the company of others at time to keep me company on the run. That was until I eyed an advertisement for something called ‘The World’s Smallest Radio’ Heck – I was back in business again! The World’s smallest radio was indeed that – the smallest. Calling it a radio was something of a misnomer however, it never really tuned into anything much, apart from a few shadowy and indeterminate whispers and murmurs. It really was small though – perhaps the size of a five pence piece with a two-inch ariel attached to it.  It’s in the draw now with all the other stuff I don’t really want to throw away. Other tiny radios came and went…

Back to the drawing board…and long silent runs.

The next stage was the mobile compact disk player. Size had finally capitulated for supposedly increased quality. Except that whilst these players bounced around heavily about your person the CD’s would also jump around in turn, spoiling the experience completely whilst having this lump of technology tiresomely dragging around you.image

Then, joy of joy, some clever person invented the Mp3 player and I was determined to be at the vanguard of this too, as had happened with the original Sony Walkman in the seventies. I promptly kitted myself out with one of these (pictured right):

The Muvo Creative was terrific. A formerly unparalleled sound, but still the problem of keeping the headphone in place was ever present. In the winter a hat would be employed for the job but the results were still not great.

Eventually things travelled full circle and I invested in a Sony Walkman Mp3 player, complete with a superb sound, large memory and headphones with buds that actually stayed in all the time! I run happily with these now with the recent addition of a nice pair of Sennheisser headphones and have truly solved my trials and tribulations with equipping myself with music while I run. All I need is some new music now…

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