#whatnurseswear: Guinness World Records in U-turn over London Marathon nurse’s title

Victory for Jessica Anderson after her record was withheld because she’d run in scrubs

Victory for Jessica Anderson after her record was withheld because she ran in scrubs

Jessica Anderson. Picture: Instagram

An NHS nurse who was told her London Marathon world record attempt would not count unless she was wearing a skirt has now been awarded the record, in a Guinness World Records U-turn.

Barts Health NHS Trust senior sister Jessica Anderson had wanted to attempt to be the quickest woman to run a marathon dressed as a nurse when she ran the 26.2-mile course on 28 April wearing scrubs with trousers.

She crossed the finish line in a record 3.08:22, but had been told by Guinness World Records that her record would only count if she had been wearing a skirt.

Rules had stipulated pinafore and hat

Guinness World Records said scrubs were too close to its fancy dress requirements for a doctor’s uniform. Its rules meant a ‘nurse’s uniform’ must include a blue or white dress, a pinafore apron and a traditional nurse’s cap.

However, in a statement this afternoon, the organisation's senior vice-president Samantha Fay admitted its guidelines were 'outdated, incorrect and reflected a stereotype [it did not] wish to perpetuate'.

Ms Fay said: 'I want to reassure everybody concerned that Guinness World Records is absolutely committed to ensuring we uphold the highest standards of equality and inclusiveness. Therefore, we unreservedly apologise and accept full responsibility for the mishandling of Jessica Anderson’s application. 

'Moreover, 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.'

Wide support

Ms Anderson received support from across the profession when it appeared her record attempt was not going to be upheld. Support flooded in on social media under the hashtag #whatnurseswear.

She told Runner’s World magazine that Guinness World Records was reinforcing gender stereotypes. She said: ‘Some of the nurses I work with do wear dresses, but mostly we wear scrubs or a tunic and trousers.’

Ms Fay added the review of the category was the first of more than 200 marathon titles it would be looking at 'as a priority', to ensure it did not allow costumes that bring professions or other groups into disrepute.

She said: 'Any we discover will be either amended to reflect modern standards, or deactivated.'

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