London Marathon dress code: Gender rules

It’s reasonable to assume that the meetings of the people who set the Guinness World Records (GWR) rules and arbitrate on disputes must be enthralling, and probably as long as it takes to run a marathon.

Some of them might be as compelling as listening to medieval theologians arguing about the number of angels that can dance on a pinhead, with conclusions varying according to the sizes of the angels and pinheads and the nature of the dance.

The GWR has told a woman whose aim was to be the fastest female to complete the London Marathon dressed as a nurse that her three-hour effort could be considered only if she ran wearing a skirt.

She was wearing scrubs with trousers. While that, these days, is what many nurses wear, the rules insist that a nurse’s uniform must include a blue or white dress, a pinafore apron, and a traditional nurse’s cap, presumably not unlike those made fashionable by Florence Nightingale.

The GWR says it will look again at its costume policy, which will have to accommodate popular concerns about gender stereotyping. That’s likely to be another marathon session.

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