A Nurse’s Interesting Loss

June 8, 2019
Photo: Ian Walton for Virgin Money London Marathon

Earlier this year, Jessica Anderson was trying to break a world record: fastest female marathon runner dressed as a nurse. All she had to do was dress like a nurse and complete a marathon in less than three hours, eight minutes, and fifty-four seconds. Not a problem—Anderson completed the marathon in three hours, eight minutes, and twenty-two seconds. Did she break the record? We thought so, and so did a lot of her supporters, but Guinness World Record (GWR), the organization that oversees world records, said she did not. Why? Because she was wearing scrubs (that’s a type of uniform that doctors and nurses wear around the hospital). Scratching your head in confusion? We were too. It turns out that GWR’s rules require that the runner wear a blue or white dress, a traditional white nurse’s cap, and an apron. Anderson wore scrubs, so she didn’t qualify for breaking the record, even though she came in under the last record holder. After word got out about what happened to Anderson, supporters took to social media to voice their opinions on what constituted a nurse’s uniform. Whether it was the outcry from supporters, or because GWR saw the error in its ways, Anderson has since been awarded the title of fastest female marathon runner dressed in a nurse’s uniform. As for those who want to attempt to break the record in the future, it won’t be against the rules if you decide to dress in scrubs anymore. Samantha Fay, Vice President of GWR said, “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quite clear to Guinness World Records that our guidelines for the fastest marathon wearing a nurse’s uniform were outdated, incorrect, and reflected a stereotype we do not in any way wish to perpetuate … I want to take this opportunity to reassure everybody concerned that [Guinness World Record] is absolutely committed to ensuring we uphold the highest standards of equality and inclusiveness. We unreservedly apologize and accept full responsibility for the mishandling of Jessica Anderson’s application.”

Are some rules meant to be updated? What are some rules that you think need to be updated?