An experienced marathon runner who now self-identifies as a woman was able to compete in the women’s division of the London Marathon despite new rules blocking biological males, sparking criticism from a top athlete.
Glenique Frank, who ran the New York Marathon last year as a male called Glen, made use of a loophole in Athletics UK’s new rules excluding biological males who have gone through puberty from competing in women’s events to run the London Marathon on Sunday.
According to The Daily Telegraph, Frank completed the marathon in four hours, 11 minutes, and 28 seconds which in the age and gender category opened placed him at 6,160th place among 20,123 women. As the paper notes, that time would have put him in a considerably lower-ranked 15,386th place had he competed as a man.
Frank’s marathon entry may not have come to national attention had he not been interviewed by the BBC during the marathon, during which the runner declared he was soon to become a grandmother and reflecting on a busy calendar of marathons coming up declared: “girl power!”. As a local news report of 2021 notes, Frank has long run marathons in fancy dress, and was known in his local area for running for charity dressed as Batman. Latterly, he switched for Batwoman.
This male ran in yesterday’s #LondonMarathon as Glenique Frank in the female category (Mass race) finishing in 6160th place out of 20123. So nearly 14,000 actual females suffered a worse finish position bc of him.
Last month, he ran in the Tokyo Marathon, as Glen Frank, also… https://t.co/u2UmaFBSns
— Mara Yamauchi (@mara_yamauchi) April 24, 2023
Mara Yamauchi, one of the fastest women in the history of British sport and a board member of the campaign group Sex Matters, spoke out on the controversy and said: “Nearly 14,000 women finished in a worse finish position because of him… Males in the female category is unfair for females.”
While UK Athletics banned biological males from competing in women’s events earlier this year, they left a loophole, called “transitional arrangements”, which would allow those who had already competed to carry on doing so, only forcing new entrants into sports to compete as their own sex. A report at the time defined the carve-out as continuing to allow: “any transgender athlete who has already entered a competition or event in the category that is not their biological sex… but may not accept any prize and their results will not count towards any record, qualifying time or mark, or team scoring.”
So while Frank ran within the new rules, Yamauchi said those rules remained “wrong and unfair” to biological women.
The London Marathon is an annual endurance run of 26 miles and 385 yards inspired by the legendary run of Philippides at the Battle of Marathon during the attempted Persian invasion of Greece in 490BC.
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