Listen Up: Earphones For Runners

Training for any sport has its challenges, but tangled earphone wires shouldn’t be one of them.

Runner and triathlete Frank Dugger always trains with music, but while training for the Honolulu Marathon with Team in Training a few years ago, he became tired of constantly fixing his earphones and decided to put matters into his own hands.

“It gets tangled, pulled and falls out, and you have to mess with it,” he explains. “There was nothing on the market that really solved the problems, so one day I bought a pair of cheap earphones and it took me about two hours to come up with a prototype.”

He created shorter earphones that were tangle-free, and a year-and-a-half ago Dugger started iRun International, expanding his products to three styles of earphones, including a waterproof model, as well as running hybrid-compression socks, elastic shoe laces, racing belts and quick-dry hats.


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Runner and triathlete Frank Dugger. Leah Friel photo

There also is a fourth earphone design in production that is waterproof and has only one earbud for those who like to keep the other ear free to listen to traffic or have conversations with friends.

“The response has been very good,” says Dugger, who lives in Saint Louis Heights with wife Yumi. “We’ve done over $100,000 in business in the first year.”

Dugger also serves as maintenance material control chief for the U.S. Marines based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe and plans to retire from the military next summer.

The 41-year-old has completed about 30 triathlons of varying dis tances including the 2010 Ironman in Cozumel, Mexico, and numerous running races, including marathons.

Last year, he was hit by a car while on a bike ride in Florida and is recovering from injuries to his left shoulder. He also keeps busy with 8-month-old twins Kai and Nari.

On Oct. 7, iRun International sponsors the 25K run as part of the BioAstin 808 Marathon Readiness Series. The run starts at 5:30 a.m. at Kailua Beach Park. Registration fees are $30, due by Sept. 19, $40 by Oct. 6 and $50 on race day.

Participants using any iRun product during the race (not including the iRun 25K race shirt) will have their race number put into a drawing in the iRun tent at the finish area. The prize is a round-trip ticket to Las Vegas. Must be present to win.

For more information on the iRun 25K, visit