Nurse in trousers told her London Marathon record would not count 


Jedidajah Otte, Guardian newspaper, Photograph: Eric Tolentino

An NHS nurse who ran the London Marathon was told her Guinness World Record attempt would not count because she was not wearing a dress.

Jessica Anderson, who has been working for the Royal London Hospital’s acute admission unit for seven years, was aiming to become the fastest female marathon runner dressed as a nurse but her scrubs and trousers did not match the uniform criteria.

Guinness World Record (GWR) rules stipulate that a nurse’s uniform must include a blue or white dress, a white pinafore apron and a traditional white nurse’s cap. Anderson was told that scrubs could be confused with the fancy dress requirements for a doctor’s uniform.

Speaking to Runner’s World, Anderson, who finished in a time of 3:08:22, called the uniform requirements “outdated” and said: “I was quite taken aback when I read that they’d rejected my application and I did email them to ask them to reconsider but they said no. Some of the nurses I work with do wear dresses but mostly we wear scrubs or a tunic and trousers. I’ve certainly never seen a male nurse wearing a dress to work.”

Although GWR told Anderson in February that she had missed the deadline for costume submissions, the organisation has now announced that her record will be reviewed.

In a tweet, GWR stated: “We’re aware of the news surrounding Jessica Anderson’s attempt for the fastest marathon dressed a nurse at this year’s London Marathon.

“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 and associated guidelines is long overdue a review which we will conduct as a priority in the coming days.”

GWR has recognised records of marathon runners dressed like a telephone box, a star and a crustacean, among many others.

London Marathon runners 'harassed' to speed upRead moreA GWR guide for prospective fancy dress runners states: “When you receive your guidelines they will include the requirements and rules around the costume or challenge they relate to. READ THESE CLOSELY. If you don’t meet the criteria of the record then your whole attempt will be disqualified (no one wants to run 26 miles dressed as a rabbit only to find out their ears weren’t long enough).”

Anderson beat the current record of 3:08:54 by 32 seconds last Sunday and has raised £2,399.72 for Barts Charity, surpassing her original £500 target.

Writing on her JustGiving page ahead of the marathon, she said: “Unfortunately Guinness world records has not accepted my application as they said my uniform does not comply with their ‘criteria’ of what a nurse wears. However I will still be aiming to beat the current official time of 3 hours 8 minutes and 54 seconds.” 

Jedidajah Otte, The Guardian, 05/05/2019