top of page

WOMENS WORDS

Schrodinger’s parkrun: Part 1

When a competition is also *not* a competition

(And where the fastest woman is a man. Even an attempted murderer!)


by Delyth Rennie


WRN Summer of Sport

As part of our #SummerOfSport 2023 campaign, the WRN Sports’ Special Interest Group decided to take a look at parkrun: a mass participation, global, free 5km running event in parks & other open spaces. It is undoubtedly a brilliant way of encouraging people to get active with over 1100 parkruns in the UK alone.


This blog specifically addresses parkrun UK, but the international policy looks to be the same.


Not a race, but certainly competitive


Although parkrun is not officially a ‘race’ it has all the trappings of competitive sport: by means of a barcode, times are recorded, course records kept, the fastest times at each course are listed, age grading scores are calculated (the sex - or gender as parkrun calls it - is crucial to this percentage score) and so on.


So, although it is not a race per se, it most certainly offers the competitive among us the opportunity to compare our achievements with others - including in the same sex and age category.


Gender Identity not Sex!


However, disappointingly, at the point of registration parkrun fails to record sex favouring ‘gender’ (of course) and asks: ‘Male, Female, Other Gender Identity and prefer not to say’. So, being ‘male’ or ‘female’ is not only a ‘gender’ but a ‘gender identity’ for parkrun. In doing so, they are effectively demanding acquiescence to a belief system that many people do not have.


Although we could check ‘prefer not to say’ many women (and men) will want their times recorded as the sex they are. I’m also fairly certain that most people will think their *sex* (and those of others who we want to presume will be honest) is simply being correctly recorded.


Elsewhere in ‘gender’ guidance they explain the gender marker can subsequently be changed. Not only do they condone a man registering himself as ‘female’, in effect they say ‘hey mate, if you change your mind about being male, feel free to change to being female’.


You might think that can’t be topped, but it can. parkrun says:


“Should an existing parkrunner change their gender identity on their parkrun profile, their results history will remain unchanged, however going forward results will be presented as per their current gender. Should that person wish to backdate their change in gender (in total or from a specific date) they can do so by contacting us via our support page, and their historical results will be updated accordingly.”


I was oblivious to parkrun’s capture by gender identity ideology until I received the weekly parkrun email in July 2022 with a blog called ‘Living as myself’ which was a piece of propaganda by a man calling himself Ada Macey.


There is at least one other parkrun blog piece by a ‘trans identified’ man calling himself Kate Hodges: ‘Where I know I’m always welcome’. He praises parkrun’s ‘inclusive’ environment (of course he does).


As far as I can ascertain, Hodges runs as a woman, I’m unsure about Macey.


Summer of Sport Campaign


WRN Sports’ Group decided to try to address this nonsense with parkrun and we tweeted:


Shrodinger’s Parkrun: Part 1 - WRN Tweet

We agree with @mara_yamauchi that fairness in sport for women matters at ALL levels - not just elite. Therefore all women & girls should expect fair sex based categories.


It is disappointing that the otherwise excellent free, mass participation events @parkrunUK consider it ‘inclusive’ to allow men to change their ‘gender’ (sic) marker to female.


Here are their explanatory notes: “We ask for gender and date of birth in order to categorise our results (by gender and age).”


So, @parkrun, you record & publish the results of men who identify as female as if they were actually female.


How is this fair to the women participating?


The fastest woman is a man


A stark illustration of how this policy of so-called inclusion leads to injustice and unfairness towards women is demonstrated by a trans-identifying man calling himself ‘Sian’ (Simon) Longthorpe.


Longthorpe has held the female course record at Parke since July 2019 despite being male. The women who hold the 2nd and 3rd places are extremely good runners and there is little prospect of his record being broken except by elite female athletes.


Longthorpe then ran at Porthcawl parkrun on 20th May this year 2023 where he smashed the 'women's' record in an age group category.


The real holder of the Porthcawl parkrun women’s record in that age group is called Deb Roberts. She is a bit of a local legend in terms of her running. She - understandably - feels cheated although it’s not clear if she will make a complaint to parkrun.

We wrote to parkrun setting out - in detail - our concerns about their policy of self ID and its appalling unfairness to women. They replied, failing to address any of the issues we raised - the cloak of ‘inclusivity’ was well and truly invoked!


Their reply:


“In 2019, after careful consideration and extensive consultation, we decided to continue categorising people based on gender rather than assigned sex. We feel this is in-line with our ethos of non-competitive socially-focussed physical activity, and allows people to identify in the way they feel most appropriate and comfortable.

At parkrun we aim to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible … we believe that our current solution is the most appropriate available at this time.”


Further examples of how parkrun are corrupting data because of their ideological capture have come to light - in particular something called age graded percentage scores where a particular trans-identifying man is scoring an astonishing 90.73% - placing him in the ‘world class’ range. His actual score (because he’s a man) is 70%. Decent, but nothing to write home about.


The fastest woman is a man convicted for attempted murder


Since then, I have discovered that, for 11 years, Aberystwyth women’s parkrun Course Record has been held by a man who calls himself Lauren Jeska.


Shrodinger’s Parkrun: Part 1 - Jeska

Jeska was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 18 years for a horrific knife attack on a UK athletics official, Ralph Knibbs.


Mr. Knibbs needed to talk to Jeska about his eligibility in the female category in fell racing as he had failed to produce blood samples when requested (and of course he should not have been in the female category whatever his testosterone levels were). In short, Jeska thought it was entirely proportionate to attempt to skewer (according to one witness) poor Mr. Knibbs who suffered life changing injuries.



WRN founder Heather Binning, interviewed in the Telegraph following the revelation of this astonishing information said it was it was “gobsmacking” that Jeska was in prison for the attempted murder of somebody from UK Athletics adding that Jeska “is in a women’s prison despite politicians' mealy-mouthed words that violent male offenders should not be in the female estate”.


Yes, you read that correctly, he is being held in a women’s prison (and possibly having a great time participating in women’s prison parkrun).


Open letter


On May 27th, we tweeted an Open letter to parkrun, outlining the problem and providing them with a solution.


We have also sent a detailed, technical letter in response to their awful reply to our first letter. We do so, hoping for - but not expecting - a better reply! (At the time of writing no further reply has been received).


Since we started our campaign on April 29th 2023, there has been quite a lot of media interest. So despite studiously ignoring us, the parkrun CEO Russ Jefferys and board of directors MUST be aware of the furore at their capture by a misogynistic cult.


Their silence is indicative of their contempt towards women. The assumption is that women don’t matter.


Most of us are not elite athletes. For organisations like parkrun to welcome men into the women’s category at grassroots level when this is the level where we CAN participate is gross misogyny.


Yes - it does matter even though it is not a ‘race’!


Please consider writing to Russ Jefferys, Parkrun CEO at:

parkrun UK

Frameworks

2 Sheen Road

RICHMOND

Surrey

TW9 1AE

And/or email support@parkrun.com

Part 2 coming soon!


Read more:


870 views

Comentários


bottom of page