UK's Parkrun trans row rumbles on

UK's Parkrun trans row rumbles on

Parkrun has removed all gender, course and age records from its website amid a row over biologically male athletes holding the fastest times in female categories.

The free event sees thousands of athletes of varying ability take part in runs through parks and athletics courses across the UK every Saturday morning.

But it has been mired in accusations it is unfair on women over its controversial entry rules allowing biological men to self-identify as females.

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.

Bosses have emailed local organisers warning them that reams of data outlining course records, the most first-place finishes, and age grade records will no longer be published.

Parkrun has acknowledged its website was 'an important source of information' for participants, in an email to local organisers.

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

It added: '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.'

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.'

It follows a recent report which found that three female Parkrun records were being held by runners who were born biologically male.

This includes the female 45-49 category at Porthcawl in South Wales which had been set in 2008 at 20.06 minutes by Deb Roberts. In May this year, Siân Longthorpe - who is biological male – set a new record of 18.53 minutes.

That result gained national attention when it was cited by Ms Yamauchi as an example of what she claimed was the exclusion of women athletes and their achievements in the name of being 'inclusive'.

Longthorpe also held the age 40-44 female record, as well as the outright female record at Parke in Devon, and the female record for ages 40-44 in Torbay Velopark.

Separately, 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 report also claimed women could be 'alienated' from grassroots sports and highlighted major physical advantages which biological males have over females.

There are more than 1,000 parkrun events across Britain, with more than 350,000 people taking part each week.