In the 40 years I have been competing in Track and Field, I have never seen or heard anyone with long hair get disqualified when the hair touches the track in the SET position.
In THEORY, the hair is part of the body, and if it touches the track beyond the starting line, then it should be equivalent of a body part, like a finger.
Of course, a hair band or elastic band can solve this simple problem.
But it looks like this rule is being looked at. (Thanks Ken Stone for pointing this out to me, though I think Ken and I don’t have to worry about this with our lack of hair at our age!)
In the Proposed Amendments at the USATF Rules Of Competition 2014 Annual Meeting in Anaheim (Full link here), it stated:
Item 35 – Submitted by Raymond Pierre, Rules Committee. Amend Rule 162.1 as follows:
When starting, all competitors must be behind the starting line and they must not touch the starting line or the surface in front of it with any part of the body. Starting positions in events at all distances shall be numbered in order that the lowest number is closest to the inner edge of the track.
NOTE: For this Rule, hair is not considered a body part.
Reason: We often witness an athlete rising to “set” and extra-long hair suddenly dropping and touching the surface in front of the starting line. Hair is considered part of the body and can be a factor in other events such as the jumps. An official choosing “literal” over “spirit” will disqualify this athlete unjustly.
So, what do you think?