Saturday, February 24, 2024

Parkrun removes all age, gender and course records from its websites following transgender row

PARKRUN has stopped showing its fastest finishers after a row over trans-athletes holding female records.

The organisers have emailed local organisers informing them that statistics such as course records, most first-place finishes, and age grade records will no longer be published.

Historic data outlining the identity of the fastest male and female athlete to complete each 5km course has already been hidden from view for participants.

Thurrock parkrun seton Orsett Heath has been running since 2016.

Over 150 participants take part each week.

A Parkrun spokeswoman said the changes were part of long-term strategy on inclusivity.

She said: ‘We try hard to make sure the information we share is consistent with our values, and that, in all that we do, we continue to find ways to remove barriers to registration and participation.

‘What was clear is that there was a disconnect between the performance data displayed so prominently on the site, and our mission to create opportunities for as many people as possible to take part in Parkrun events – especially those who are anxious about activities such as Parkrun, but who potentially have an enormous amount to gain.

‘Based on the conclusions and recommendations of the project group, we will no longer publish data such as most first finishes, sub 17 men and sub 20 women, and age grade or category speed records. 

‘Alongside these, as part of our ongoing data protection improvements, the search function has been removed.’

As we work towards the objectives set out in our five year strategy we’ll continue to take steps to ensure that everyone is able to enjoy Parkrun for what it is: a free community event and an opportunity to be active, social and outside in a non-competitive, inclusive and welcoming environment.’

Mara Yamauchi, a former British Olympic runner, accused Parkrun of ‘choosing to prioritise men who want to run as ‘female’ over fairness for females’.

She wrote on Twitter: ‘It will be interesting to see how Parkrunners react to all this data disappearing. I predict that a lot of men will be fed up about it.

‘If males continue participating in [females] category (at least one did last Sat), I will continue speaking up.’

The feelings of all females should never matter less than the feelings of a few trans-identifying males.’

She added on social media: ‘Keep sport fair for both sexes!’

Your Harlow has been in contact with Ms Yamauchi and hopes to interview her next week.

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