Parkrun has removed all gender, course and age records from its website amid a row over trans athletes having the fastest times in women’s categories.
The decision has outraged former British Olympians, while some participants have withdrawn their donations saying they refuse to fund an organization that “hides its statistics” rather than “correcting its gender policy.”
Former British swimmer Sharron Davies criticized Parkrun for being “cowardly”, while former marathon star Mara Yamauchi accused the organization of prioritizing men over women and vowed to keep speaking out if men still compete in women’s categories.
This free event sees thousands of athletes of various levels take part in races around parks and athletics fields across the UK every Saturday morning.
But it has become embroiled in accusations that it is unfair to women over its controversial entry rules that allow biological men to self-identify as women.
Transgender athlete Lauren Jeska, who was born male, holds both the Aberystwyth age 35-39 record and the overall female record since 2012, with a time of 17.38 minutes.
Former trail running champion Jeska was born Michael, pictured before transitioning in 2000.
Parkrun had listed Jeska as the Aberystwyth women’s record holder, as this image shows.
Historical data describing the identity of the fastest male and female athlete to complete each 5K course has already been hidden from participants’ view.
Bosses have emailed local organizers warning them that a wealth of data outlining course records, highest number of first places and age grade records will no longer be published.
Ms Davies, a former Olympic swimmer, described Parkrun as “cowardly” and said the organization should add race records for trans athletes alongside existing men’s and women’s records.
‘Instead of giving women their fair Parkrun sporting results… they have removed all records from public view.
‘The vast majority want a simple and fair sport for everyone, based on the biological reality of the bodies with which we run, jog or compete.
“The feelings of all women should never matter less than the feelings of a few trans-identified men.”
And he added on social media: ‘Let’s keep sport fair for both sexes!’
Ms Yamauchi, a former British Olympic runner, accused Parkrun of “choosing to prioritize men who want to run as ‘feminine’ over justice for women”.
She wrote on Twitter: ‘It will be interesting to see how the Parkrunners react to all this data disappearing. I predict a lot of men will get sick of this.
“If men continue to participate in the (women’s) category (at least one did last Saturday), I will continue speaking.”
The decision has already upset sections of the running community.
One regular participant, who said she canceled a regular donation to Parkrun in response, wrote on social media: “I’ve donated since it started but I can’t fund an organization that, instead of correcting its bad gender policy, hides the statistics.” “. What poor leadership!’
Parkrun acknowledged its website was “an important source of information” for participants, in an email sent to local organisers, seen by the Mail.
But he also said that “some of the content we share and the way we present it can be off-putting or create opportunities for misunderstandings.”
He added: “Therefore, in the coming days we will no longer publish data such as attendance records, course records, fastest finishers, most first results and grade records or age categories.”
Siân Longthorpe, a biologically male transgender woman, completed the Porthcawl Parkrun in a record 18 minutes and 53 seconds in May in the women’s 45-49 category.
When registering, Parkrun runners are asked their gender, rather than sex, and can choose “prefer not to say” and “another gender identity” other than male/female, as above.
A recent explosive report by right-wing think tank Policy Exchange released last month, backed by Olympic athletes Martina Navratilova (left) and Sharron Davies (right), said Parkun should have its government funding cut if it fails to protect the runners of their transgender rivals.
Daley Thompson, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon, also backed the report.
“Each event’s results pages, your personalized results email, and your individual profile pages will remain unchanged.”
A Parkrun spokeswoman said the changes were part of a long-term strategy on inclusion.
He said: ‘We strive to ensure that the information we share is consistent with our values and that, in everything 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 eager for activities like Parkrun, but potentially having a lot to gain.
‘Based on the conclusions and recommendations of the project group, we will no longer publish data such as most first places, under 17 men and under 20 women, and grade or age category speed records.
“In addition, as part of our continued improvements in data protection, the search function has been removed.”
“As we work towards the goals set out in our five-year strategy, we will continue to take steps to ensure everyone can enjoy Parkrun for what it is: a free community event and an opportunity to be active, social and outdoors in a safe environment. non-competitive, inclusive and welcoming.’
A graph in the Policy Exchange report that it said “demonstrates the increasing number of elite female athletes participating in the Olympic Games.”
The report says this table shows the “scale of the male advantage in sports,” given that “every world record in athletics held by a woman has been broken by a teenager.”
This follows a recent explosive report from right-wing think tank Policy Exchange which found three female Parkrun records were held by runners who were born biologically male.
This includes the women’s 45-49 category in Porthcawl, South Wales, which Deb Roberts set in 2008 at 20.06 minutes. In May of this year,
Siân Longthorpe, a biologically male transgender woman, set a new record of 18.53 minutes.
That result attracted national attention when Ms. Yamauchi cited it as an example of what she said was the exclusion of female athletes and their achievements in the name of being “inclusive.”
Longthorpe also held the women’s 40-44 record, as well as the overall women’s record at Parke in Devon, and the women’s 40-44 record at Torbay Velopark.
Elsewhere, transgender Lauren Jeska, who was born male, holds both the Aberystwyth record for ages 35-39 and the absolute female record since 2012, with a time of 17.38 minutes.
The report, backed by sports stars including former world number one tennis player Martina Navratilova, said the government should cut funding for the event if it does not protect female runners from their transgender rivals.
The report also claimed that women could be “alienated” from grassroots sports and highlighted the significant physical advantages that biological men have over women.
He said Sports England, the government’s non-departmental body for community sport, should tell Parkrun that it must collect participant data based on biological sex, rather than gender identity, and update course records to reflect this. . He added: “If this does not happen within 12 months, taxpayer funding should be withdrawn.”
There are over 1,000 parkrun events across Britain, involving over 350,000 people each week.