Barts Charity London Marathon runner hits the headlines with world record attempt

07 May 2019

Royal London Hospital nurse Jessica Anderson has gained global public support after Guinness World Records claimed the nurse's scrubs she ran in did not meet their criteria for a nurse’s uniform.

Jessica recently ran the London Marathon for Barts Charity, who have supported her team on the Acute Admissions Unit at The Royal London Hospital by funding equipment like dementia friendly clocks and signage, a bladder scanner and furnishings for the staff room and day rooms.

Guinness World Record attempt

Jessica (pictured far right) decided to run the marathon in her nurse uniform – blue scrubs. She finished the race in a remarkably fast time of 3:08:22, which makes her the fastest person to run the London Marathon in a nurse’s uniform, beating the previous record by 30 seconds. 

However, Guinness World Records didn’t initially allow the attempt, because Jessica’s outfit didn’t meet their criteria for a nurse’s uniform, which needed to be a dress, an apron and a traditional cap - not commonly seen on the wards in 2019. 

A Twitter storm

Following an article about the record attempt in Runner's World on Friday, Twitter got behind Jessica. Thousands of people tweeted, from Jessica’s Royal London Hospital colleague Tom Oates to broadcaster Simon Mayo, branding Guinness World Records “outdated” and “sexist”.

The Student Nurse Project encouraged hundreds of nurses to post selfies in their uniforms and by Sunday, the story had gone viral and #WhatNursesWear was trending on Twitter.

Hitting the headlines across the globe

The UK press picked Jessica’s story up, with pieces in The Guardian, The Sun, the BBC and many more. The story then went global, with outlets in the USA, Australia, Turkey and other countries covering the news.

Donations to support Jessica

Donations have poured in from around the world and Jessica’s fundraising total is currently over £5,000! Her JustGiving page is host to supportive comments from generous strangers like:

  •  “Read your story in the Guardian, just wanted to show my support for your great work, record or not!” Andy Theyers
  •  “You're a record breaker in my book. Best wishes from Oz!” Danielle Ray
  •  “A small donation from NYC in the name of gender equality in the workplace — down with sexism, up with scrubs! Congrats on your race and your rightful world record” Adrienne Anderson

New rules

Guinness World Records have now reviewed their criteria and in a statement on Monday 7th June, announced that they are awarding Jessica with the Guinness World Records title for the fastest marathon wearing a nurse’s uniform.

They added: “Over the weekend 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.”

Barts Charity would like to thank Jessica for her incredible achievement and everybody who has supported her.

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