Parkrun ditches course and age-category records
Parkrun has removed course and age-category records from its website and in future will only publish basic results from events.
Also disappearing are parkrun ‘world records‘ in addition to statistics for most wins or for getting under a particular time as the organisation seeks to make its data less performance-oriented.
However, the move comes at a time when parkrun is being criticised for allowing entrants to self-identify their gender, with event organisers being accused of “sex discrimination”.
A report in the Telegraph claims parkrun has taken this “drastic action after rejecting calls for it to stop allowing entrants to self-identify their gender”.
However, parkrun has always prided itself on its non-competitive element and describes its events as recreational running or walking with courses roughly 5km in distance and often not accurately measured.
A document which has appeared on social media from parkrun says: “We know that our websites are an important source of information for all parkrunners, especially for those who are new and yet to take part. Our insight tells us that some of the content we share and how we present it can be off-putting or create opportunities for misunderstanding (e.g. parkrun is not a race but we list most things like most first finishes).
“So in the coming days we will no longer publish data such as attendance records, course records, fastest finishers, most first finishes, and age graded or category records. The results pages for every event, your personalised results email and your individual profile pages will remain unchanged.”
Several female parkrun course records have been broken by transgender women, though, leading to the accusations that female runners are being discriminated against.
Parkrun has refused to ask transgender runners to record their sex at birth, arguing that their events are primarily about inclusion rather than competitive performance.
A parkrun statement published in the Telegraph said the changes had followed a review over several months by a global working group to consider “how we can present data in a way that is not off-putting and doesn’t imply that parkrun is a race”.
This review showed a “disconnect” between parkrun performance data and their mission of providing as many people as possible with the opportunity to participate.
Parkrun added: “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.”
In addition, parkrun claim they were considering changes since before the Covid pandemic in 2020, regardless of the campaign around gender self-identification.
However, the campaign group Fair Play For Women said: “Parkrun have been letting men hold female course records. Women complained saying it was unfair. Rather than resolve the issue Parkrun has removed everyone’s records from its website.”