Social Media Trend of Running Selfies May Slow Racers Down

At the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and other races throughout San Diego, runner selfies are becoming a common sight.

There was no shortage of selfies at this past weekend's San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon.

Although the advent of smartphones introduced many useful apps for runners, it may slow down some racers who stop in the middle of the tracks to take a #selfie.

In a recent New York Times article, Jen A. Miller writes that smartphones have popularized ‘running selfies,’ a new running habit that may be detrimental to the original purpose of races.

A visitor to San Diego documented her run in the Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K this weekend in a blog, which included group selfies at each mile marker in the 5K.

“Our goal for the run was simple: All the fun. All the selfies,” said Dani Holmes-Kirk in her blog Weight Off My Shoulders. Her Twitter bio says, “Mid-run selfie master!”

While snapping the perfect selfie mid-run may be a positive way to connect with running communities on social media, there are important safety concerns regarding running selfies.

There were 27 selfie-related deaths worldwide in 2015, according to the International Business Times. Running selfies may pose a potential hazard to other runners, as race participants can unwittingly run into people who stop abruptly to take a photo.

One local runner, who was part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Blog Team this year, has shared selfies from various races in San Diego. This included one photo on her Fitness Fatale blog from a previous run with the caption: “Attempting to get a selfie with 4 people while running is not recommended.”

The 2016 National Runner Survey reported that 61 percent of runners regularly run with a cellphone to play music, track mileage and use GPS features, Miller said. The study also found that millennials and Gen Xers are most likely to use social media channels to post about their running activities.

It remains to be seen whether the marathon organizers of future races will implement stricter rules regarding the use of smartphones and selfies in the middle of races.

Instagram was flooded with photos of runners at the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon from this weekend, which included many selfies:

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