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Nurse denied Guinness World Record for not wearing dress at London Marathon

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A British nurse who ran the London Marathon in record time says she’s been denied a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for not wearing a dress as her uniform.

Jessica Anderson completed the London Marathon in three hours, eight minutes and 22 seconds on Apil 28, topping the existing Guinness record for running in a nurse’s uniform by 32 seconds. Anderson raced in the same blue scrubs and trousers she wears to her job as a nurse at the Royal London Hospital in a stunt meant to raise money for charity.

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However, she says Guinness denied her the world record because her outfit didn’t match the record book’s definition of a nurse’s uniform. According to Guinness’ rules, a nurse’s uniform must consist of a dress, an apron and a traditional cap.

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“I was quite taken aback when I read that they’d rejected my application,” Anderson said in an interview with Runner’s World last week. “I get that it’s supposed to be a fun thing, but their definition is just so outdated.”

Anderson added that many of her female nursing colleagues — and all of her male colleagues — wear trousers with their outfits rather than dresses.

British runner Sarah Dudgeon holds the current record for fastest marathon in a nurse’s uniform. She completed the London Marathon in three hours, eight minutes and 54 seconds on April 26, 2015. Others set records that same day for running the race dressed as a leprechaun, a doctor, a whoopee cushion, a playing card and a “three-dimensional bird.”

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Runner Neil Casey claimed the record for fastest man in a nurse’s outfit in 2015. He also wore an apron, dress and traditional cap for his world record bid.

Sarah Dudgeon, left, and Neil Casey pose for photos after completing the London Marathon in “nurses’ outfits” to set Guinness World Records on April 26, 2015.
Sarah Dudgeon, left, and Neil Casey pose for photos after completing the London Marathon in “nurses’ outfits” to set Guinness World Records on April 26, 2015. Guinness World Records

Guinness pledged to review Anderson’s rejected record application immediately in a statement issued Saturday.

“Guinness World Records takes the matter of equality and inclusiveness very seriously,” Guinness senior vice-president Samantha Fay said in a statement. “We are … committed to consistent reviews of all record categories to ensure they reflect the world we live in today.”

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The incident sparked outrage among the international nursing community, with many posting photos of their work outfits under the hashtag #WhatNursesWear.

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Canada and the United States will mark National Nursing Week from May 6 to 12. The United Kingdom is due to honour International Nurses Day on Sunday, May 12.

With files from the Associated Press