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Parkrun stops showing fastest finishers after row over trans athletes posting records in female categories

Parkrun has dropped its listing of fastest times (PA Wire)
Parkrun has dropped its listing of fastest times (PA Wire)

Parkrun has stopped listing its fastest runners’ times after a row over trans athletes posting female records.

Event organisers have been told by management that course records, first place finishers and records for age groups and gender will no longer be published on its website.

Historic data naming the fastest male and female athlete to complete each 5km course has already been removed.

The free event sees tens of thousands of athletes of varying ages and abilities taking part in runs through parks and across the UK every Saturday morning.

However it has been accused of being unfair on women as biological men have been able to self-identify as females and have, in some cases, posted exceptional times.

Sharron Davies, the former Olympic swimmer, said Parkrun should instead add course records for trans athletes alongside the existing male and female records.

She told Mail Online: “Rather than give females their fair sports results from Parkrun … they have removed from public view all records.

“The vast majority want simple, fair sport for all based on the biological reality of the bodies we run / race / compete with.

“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!”

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.”

Parkrun has acknowledged its website was “an important source of information” for participants, in an email to local organisers, seen by the Mail.

But it added “some of the content we share and how we present it can be off-putting or create opportunities for misunderstanding.

“So in the coming days we will no longer publish data such as attendance records, course records, fastest finishers, most first finishes and age grade or category records.

“The results pages for every event, your personalised results email and your individual profile pages will remain unchanged.”

There are 62 Park runs in Greater London with the first in Bushey Park in 2004. There are events across the capital with the latest addition the Thames path event in Woolwich, set up last year.

Some are in the most iconic locations, including Hyde Park.

A Parkrun spokeswoman said the changes were part of long-term strategy to improve inclusivity and were not to do with the trans row.

She told the Mail: “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.”