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.
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.
“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 “I get that it’s supposed to be a fun thing, but their definition is just so outdated.”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.”
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.
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.
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