Nurse denied London Marathon world record ‘because she wore trousers’

Jessica Anderson says ‘outdated’ rules mean the uniform she wears to work is not accepted as a nurse costume

Jessica Anderson completed the London Marathon in three hours, eight minutes and 22 seconds while wearing her nurse's uniform
Jessica Anderson completed the London Marathon in three hours, eight minutes and 22 seconds while wearing her nurse's uniform

A nurse who ran the London marathon wearing her NHS uniform claims she has been denied a world record because she wore trousers instead of a dress.

Jessica Anderson, who has worked on the Acute Admissions Unit at the Royal London Hospital for nearly seven years, wanted to be the quickest woman to complete a marathon dressed as a nurse.

She crossed the finish line in three hours, eight minutes and 22 seconds last Sunday, beating Sarah Dudgeon who set the record with a time of three hours, eight minutes and 54 seconds in 2015.

But Guinness World Records (GWR) told Ms Anderson her attempt would not count because she was wearing scrubs with trousers.

GWR rules stipulated that a nurse’s uniform must include a blue or white dress, a pinafore apron and a traditional nurse’s cap. Officials told Ms Anderson that scrubs are too close to the fancy dress requirements for a doctor’s uniform.

Calling the rules “outdated”, Ms Anderson told Runner’s World magazine: “I was quite taken aback when I read that they’d rejected my application. Some of the nurses I work with do wear dresses, but mostly we wear scrubs or a tunic and trousers.”

GWR has since pledged to look into its costume policy.

It said in a statement: “Inclusiveness and respect are values that Guinness World Records holds extremely dear, and while we always need to ensure we can differentiate between categories, it is quite clear that this record title is long overdue a review, which we will conduct as a priority in the coming days.”

Ms Anderson, who raised more than £2,300 for Barts Health NHS Trust, said she hopes GWR will stop reinforcing old gender stereotypes.

She added: “I’m sure Guinness World Records don’t intend to cause offence, but it would be nice if they decided to revise their criteria.”

It comes after the London Marathon was criticised earlier this week after some of its stewards were accused of bullying and fat-shaming slower runners.

Elizabeth Ayres, who was the official seven-and-a-half hour pacer at the event, said the runners were forced to dodge lorries as the clean-up operation started around them.

Additional reporting by PA

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