A nurse who ran the London marathon in her work clothes to tighten the world record of fastest woman in nursing uniform is not recognized by the Guinness Book of Records in her nevertheless successful attempt: according to the criteria Jessica Anderson should have had a nurse dress and apron wearing a traditional cap. The organization seems to have escaped the fact that modern nurses (m/f) are no longer dressed for such a long time. “Sexist and old-fashioned,” said Anderson and her colleagues.
Jessica Anderson ran the London Marathon in her workwear last week: a blue uniform from the National Health Service with her name and title of “Senior Sister.” The woman’s goal was to be faster than the previous “nurse record”, which is three hours, eight minutes and 54 seconds.
During her training, the woman had noticed that her own time always came close to that record. She finally managed to dive under that time during the London marathon: Anderson turned out to be no less than 22 seconds faster than the old record time.
However, the Guinness Book of Records does not want to acknowledge her new record time, as the organization says the woman did not meet the clothing requirements for the nurse’s uniform. The regulations stipulate that whoever wants to participate dressed as a nurse to be eligible for a place in the Guinness Book of Records “must put on a blue or white nurse’s dress, together with a white apron and a traditional white nurse’s cap. Tights are optional”, Anderson was informed in advance when she announced her plans to Guinness World Records.
“An old-fashioned, sexist stereotype,” says Anderson, who ran into the race in her own uniform (with long pants) and thereby raised money for a good cause. Beforehand she tried to convince the organization to adjust their rules by indicating that this is effectively the uniform for all nurses in her department, but Guinness World Records remained inexorable.
“No realistic criteria”
According to a spokesperson, Anderson’s nurse uniform was too similar to that of a doctor: “that is why the nurse uniform must be different and that’s how we end up with the old-fashioned version.” The man told Jess that there are no realistic clothing criteria for other professions: the chef expects him to finish the race with chef’s hat on his head and a large pan in his hand.
Yet Jess believes that the organization is too easy to do. “This has an impact on how people view nursing. It is a modern profession where both men and women can work, so the idea that nurses should wear dresses with an apron is astonishing. I am sure Guinness World Records is not meant to offend people, but it would be nice if they decided to adjust the criteria instead of forcing old stereotypes,” she says in Runner’s World.
Other nurses support her: on Twitter (prospective) nurses have already launched a call to their colleagues to post selfies with their work clothes on.
Guinness World Records has announced through a tweet that they are aware of the news surrounding Jessica Anderson’s attempt to become the fastest marathon runner dressed as a nurse during the London marathon. We will prioritize this matter in the coming days.