LONDON — A British nurse who was denied a Guinness World Record because she ran the 2019 London Marathon in pants instead of a dress was granted her title this week after a public outcry over what many called outdated and sexist criteria.
The nurse, Jessica Anderson, beat a record set in 2015 — for the fastest woman to run the marathon in a nurse’s uniform — by 32 seconds while wearing a baggy blue scrub: her uniform as an employee of the National Health Service in the East End of London.
“They said it had to be a white or blue dress, pinafore apron and white cap or it wouldn’t count as a record,” Ms. Anderson said on Sunday, adding, “I didn’t want to wear that, so I chose to wear my real uniform.”
The 2015 record-holder had worn a blue and white striped dress, an apron and a Red Cross cap.
But Ms. Anderson’s record, 3 hours 8 minutes 22 seconds, at the marathon on April 28 was initially rejected by the tracking organization, spurring an outpouring of anger on social media. Nurses posted photos of their real uniforms on Twitter with #WhatNursesWear.
Many asked why Guinness would hew to a stereotype, since nurses, including men, are not required to wear skirts or dresses on the job.
One Twitter user who identified himself as a nurse named Russ wrote, “Of the many different uniforms I wore over 30 years, none was a dress.”
“It has become quite clear to Guinness World Records that our guidelines for the fastest marathon wearing a nurse’s uniform were outdated, incorrect and reflected a stereotype we do not in any way wish to perpetuate,” Ms. Fay said.
Ms. Anderson, a nurse at the Royal London Hospital, took part in the marathon for charity and set a goal of raising 500 pounds for Barts Charity, which funds groundbreaking research and health care at her hospital and four others. As of Wednesday, her fund-raising had surpassed 5,432 pounds, about $7,000.
She said in a post on Instagram that she was “delighted” by Guinness’s decision to review the criteria for the record.
“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,” she wrote. “I would have been doing a disservice to my profession if I had worn a fancy dress costume.”