Parkrun trans row: Emily Carver fumes at ‘ridiculous’ rule change leaving athletes devastated - ‘Boggles the mind’

Parkrun trans row: Emily Carver fumes at ‘ridiculous’ rule change leaving athletes devastated - ‘Boggles the mind’

WATCH NOW: Parkrun trans row sparks fiery discussion on GB News

GB News
Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce

Published: 09/02/2024

- 17:30

Parkrun's CEO has stated that the changes are 'not related to the transgender debate'

GB News host Emily Carver has hit out at Parkrun, after their decision to remove key aspects from their athlete records sparked a major debate over transgender competitors.

The backlash comes as transgender women were known to hold some of the fastest records on the event's website in the female category. Transgender athlete Lauren Jeska, who was born a man, has held both Aberystwyth's ages 35-39 record and the outright female record since 2012, with a time of 17.38 minutes.

The free event sees runners of all varying abilities take part in runs through parks and athletics courses across the UK every Saturday morning

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

Parkrun and Emily Carver

Emily Carver hit out at 'ridiculous' change to Parkrun records

GB News

Parkrun's CEO has said such accusations relating the changes to transgender runners were "simply not true".

One devastated athlete was James Hancock from Sutton, South London, who saw his course record at Nonsuch Parkrun wiped from the record as part of a mass data removal from the organisation’s website.

He told GB News: "I’m gutted the record has been taken away.

"It meant a lot to have that at my home Parkrun. The way they have dealt with this matter is a mess and it doesn’t solve anything."

Maya Yamauchi

Two-time Olympian Maya Yamauchi says Parkrun have 'not addressed the issue' of gender self-identity

GB News

GB News presenter Emily Carver hit out at the "ridiculous" decision by Parkrun to remove the records, suggesting it was spurred by biologically female runners who have spoken out against transgender participants about competing in the same category.

Emily said: "They've taken this decision to scrap the stats from the website - that doesn't solve the problem, does it?

"Parkrun is supposed to be a fun activity at the weekend to do. Half of the enjoyment is seeing how you rank compared to other people on that day compared to your female counterparts. Two or three times I've done a Parkrun myself, and I love seeing the stats there.

"If there's already a third and fourth category, then why on earth have Parkrun decided to do this? I mean it boggles the mind."

Two-time Olympian and long-distance runner Maya Yamauchi said Parkrun have "not addressed the issue" of gender self-identity within their application process, meaning males are welcome in the female category and vice-versa.


Parkrun competitors took to social media to hit out at the changes made on the website


Yamauchi warned: "So the impact of that going forward will simply be hidden, because all of this data has been removed.

"By removing all that data, they've made it less appealing to the competitive runners. Perhaps what they should have done is changed their categories to 'sex at birth'. This would have made everybody feel included and it would have been fair for everybody, including females, and kept all their data there."

Russ Jefferys, Chief Executive Officer at Parkrun, has dismissed accusations that the change was due to transgender competitors.

Jeffreys told BBC Radio 5 Live: "The decision to remove this specific data is just not related to the transgender debate in any way.

"But what I would say is that there is clearly commonality here because I think the criticism that we've faced is down to a total misunderstanding of what Parkrun is – it is not a race.

"For absolute clarity, we're not removing all results and we're not going to stop timing events or recording finish times, but we are removing a few things that focused on performance and competition such as most first finishes or age grade and category speed records."

Jeffreys added: "I think we need to be careful about making serious accusations. Sadly there is just a lot of anger and emotion in this conversation, I know that's not helped by how these things play out on social media.

"But I think we would all benefit from just turning the heat down and remembering that in the end, Parkrun is a free, fun, community event and a great way to start the weekend."

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