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Nurse Denied World Record Because She Didn’t Run In A Dress

London Marathon 2007
London Marathon 2007. (Photo: Tuan Hoang Nguyen)

“I’ve certainly never seen a male nurse wearing a dress to work.”

Last Sunday, Jessica Anderson, a nurse at the Royal London Hospital ran the city’s marathon wearing the exact outfit she does at work. Her goals were to set a Guinness World Record for completing the marathon dressed as a nurse; unfortunately, they had an issue with her uniform.

“Guinness World Records have declined my application as my uniform doesn’t meet their criteria of what a nurse’s uniform should be,” Anderson stated on Instagram approximately a month prior to the marathon.

 

The organization which has been publishing books since November 10, 1951, told Anderson before she took part in the marathon that she would need to wear ‘a blue and white dress, apron and a traditional nurse’s cap’ for her attempt to count according to an email exchange she showed to BBC. The officials added that full-body scrubs were too close to the Guinness definition of a doctor’s costume.

Outdated Standards For Nurse

Jessica Anderson shared her opinions on the situation with Runner’s World, “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. I get that it’s supposed to be a fun thing but their definition is just so outdated. 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.”

“I’m sure Guinness World Records don’t intend to cause offense but it would be nice if they decided to revise their criteria instead of reinforcing old gender stereotypes,” she continued.

Due to public outcry, Guinness World Records released the following response.

“Guinness World Records takes the matters of equality and inclusiveness very seriously. I want to ensure all concerned that we have recognised [sic] the need for an immediate review of this attempt and the fastest marathon dressed as a nurse category and associated guidelines which we will begin as a priority. We are also committed to consistent reviews of all record categories to ensure they reflect the world we live in today.” Samantha Fay, Senior Vice President, Guinness World Records

Next Steps

As stated prior, there has been a loud response to the controversy on social media which led to the public statement from Guinness. The incident sparked the #WhatNursesWear trend on Twitter.

Anderson completed the race in three hours, eight minutes, and twenty-two seconds, which beat the previous record by someone running in a nurse’s uniform by 32 seconds. If Guinness decides to change their standards for constitutes a nurse uniform, it’s possible they could grant Anderson the world record. It’s also possible that Guinness could change the standards and allow Anderson to attempt to break the record again next year.

According to information gathered by Runner’s World from Anderson, she was able to raise over £2000 for the Barts Charity in order to aid the Acute Admissions unit at the Royal London Hospital, where she has worked for nearly seven years.

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Walter Yeates

Walter Yeates is a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter who embedded at Standing Rock with military Veterans and First People in December 2016. He covers a range of topics at Citizen Truth and is open for tips and suggestions. Twitter: www.twitter.com/GentlemansHall or www.twitter.com/SmoothJourno Muckrack: https://muckrack.com/walteryeates

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