Guinness World Records has decided to recognize Jessica Anderson as the world record holder for fastest marathon by a woman wearing a nurse’s uniform after initially ruling she didn’t qualify because she wore scrubs instead of a dress.
"I want to take this opportunity to reassure everybody concerned that Guinness World Records is absolutely committed to ensuring we uphold the highest standards of equality and inclusiveness,” senior vice president Samantha Fay said in a statement Tuesday. “Therefore, we unreservedly apologize and accept full responsibility for the mishandling of Jessica Anderson’s application.”
In an Instagram post the same day, Anderson said she’s “delighted” with the decision.
“For me the issue went beyond achieving a world record,” wrote Anderson, a nurse at the Royal London Hospital. “I made a conscious decision to wear my uniform for the race, knowing that the record attempt wouldn’t be counted. While nursing uniforms vary, one thing they have in common is that they are designed for professional women AND men who care for people in all sorts of ways across the world. I would have been doing a disservice to my profession if I had worn a fancy dress costume.”
Anderson ran the London Marathon on April 28 while dressed in the scrubs she wears to work. Her time of 3 hours, 8 minutes, 22 seconds was 30 seconds faster than what Guinness had listed as the world record for fasted marathon by a woman in a nurse’s uniform.
But Anderson’s time was not considered a new record by Guinness because of criteria that stated the runner must be wearing a nurse’s dress, apron and cap.
Those rules will be changed, according to Fay.
“We have taken the decision to no longer allow fancy dress clothing for this category and will introduce guidelines which reflect the clothes worn by nurses in the UK and around the world,” she said in her statement.
"The review of this category is the first review of each one of our 200+ marathon titles we will be conducting as a priority, to ensure we do not allow any costumes which bring a profession or any other subject into disrepute. Any we discover will be either amended to reflect modern standards, or deactivated.”