Guinness World Records will review its criteria for the fastest marathon by a person dressed as a nurse (yes, that’s a real thing) after a London-based nurse complained that her time didn’t qualify because she wore scrubs instead of a dress.
Jessica Anderson was training for the London Marathon when she noticed that her time was close to the world record for a woman wearing a nurse’s uniform (3 hours, 8 minutes, 54 seconds, set by Sarah Didgeon in 2015). Anderson was told that in order to qualify for the record, she must be what she described to the BBC as "an old-fashioned, Carry On version of a nurse" — in a blue or white nurse dress, a white apron and a traditional nurse’s cap.
She said she was told those rules apply to both men and women attempting to set the record. After writing back and asking the organization to reconsider its "outdated and frankly quite sexist" rule, Anderson went ahead and ran the April 28 race in scrubs. She finished in 3:08:22 — that’s 32 seconds faster than the current record.
“@guinnessworldrecords this is what the fastest female marathon runner in a nurse’s uniform ACTUALLY looks like,” she wrote in an Instagram post featuring a photo of her raising her arms in triumph at the end of the race.
A number of nurses have shown support for Anderson by sharing photos of themselves wearing scrubs and using the hashtag #WhatNursesWear.
Guinness World Records senior vice president Samantha Fay said in a statement Saturday that her organization will conduct an immediate review of the criteria for the record as well as Anderson’s attempt at setting the new mark.
"Guinness World Records takes the matters of equality and inclusiveness very seriously,” Fay stated. “We are also committed to consistent reviews of all record categories to ensure they reflect the world we live in today."
Incidentally, the world record for a man dressed in a nurse’s uniform is held by Alistair Smith, who ran the 2016 London Marathon in 2:45:37 while wearing the traditional outfit (dress and all) described above.
Guinness also keeps track of such world records as fastest marathon by a woman dressed as a nun (Victoria Carter, 3:26:53), fastest marathon by someone dressed as Elvis (Ian Sharman, 2:42:52) and fastest 10-kilometer race on one leg using crutches (Larry Chloupek, 1:07:54).