A British Olympian has claimed it was ‘wrong and unfair’ to allow a transgender athlete to compete in the women’s category of the London Marathon on Sunday.
Glenique Frank, who ran the New York Marathon last November as a man named Glen, was allowed to compete in Sunday’s mass race in London and crossed the line in a time of 4 hours 11 minutes 28 seconds.
During Frank’s grueling 26.2-mile run in the 50 to 54 age bracket, the transgender athlete shouted “girl power” and “I’m going to be a grandma” as he stopped for an interview at Tower Bridge.
Olympian Mara Yamauchi, Britain’s third-fastest female marathoner ever, lashed out at the organizers for letting Frank take advantage of a loophole at the London Marathon.
On 31 March, UK Athletics announced it would ban transgender athletes from its licensed events, stating that it was ‘fair for athletes who have gone through male puberty to be excluded from the female category in athletics’.
Transgender athlete Glenique Frank (photo) was allowed to participate in the women’s category of the London Marathon on Sunday
Olympian Mara Yamauchi has claimed it was ‘wrong and unfair’ to allow Frank to compete in the women’s category
Yamauchi, Britain’s third-fastest ever female marathon runner, said ‘nearly 14,000 real women had a worse finishing position’ because of Frank
However, any athlete already entered in a category that was not their biological sex was still allowed to compete – something Frank seems to have been able to take advantage of.
Criticizing the decision to allow Frank to participate, Yamauchi wrote on Twitter, “Nearly 14,000 women ended up in a poorer final position because of him.”
Yamauchi, who finished sixth in the 2008 Beijing Olympics marathon, later told the Telegraph: ‘World Athletics and UK Athletics have rules that men after puberty competing in the women’s category are unfair. This male competed under UK Athletics transitional arrangements but it is still wrong and unfair.”
Cathy Devine, former lecturer in sport and physical activity at the University of Cumbria, wrote on Twitter: ‘This is what makes the London Marathon possible.
“Zero categories that exclude male performance advantage. Goddess forbid female runners have their own category celebrating what female runners can do.”
As he crossed Tower Bridge, Frank told BBC’s JJ Chalmers: ‘This is my 17th marathon and I’m doing the six majors.
“I just did Tokyo, I did New York last year. Next year I’m doing No. 6 a week before London. So a week of rest…girl power. I’ve also competed in the Comrades Marathon in South Africa, where I’m from. Shout out to my beautiful son, who’s having a baby, so I’m going to be a grandma….Grandma G!”
Frank achieved a 6,160th place in the women’s race with 20,123 participants. If the runner had been in the men’s category, a time of 4 hours 11 minutes 28 seconds would have only been good enough for 15.386th place.
On March 31, UK Athletics announced it would ban transgender athletes from its licensed events, but it appears Frank took advantage of a loophole
Yamauchi added that “some people say if men are on the podium it matters, but not if they finish lower.”
“What this is effectively saying is that women and girls who aren’t great at sports don’t deserve fairness, which I think is appalling,” she said.
According to official online marathon results, Frank ran as a woman in the women’s event of the Tokyo Marathon last month, but competed as a man in New York last year – placing 14,096th out of 26,539 male runners.
Frank now plans to compete in both the Berlin and Chicago Marathons this year before running in Boston and London in April 2024.
There are concerns that if Frank hadn’t been so vocal on TV, female runners would never have known a transgender athlete was competing.