Trans marathon runner beats 14,000 women to the dismay of female Olympians

A transgender runner’s recent victory in the female category of the London Marathon has sparked heated debate among sports enthusiasts.

Glenique Frank, a 54-year-old personal trainer and British citizen, came under fire after running the race in the female category and winning, beating almost 14,000 biological women.

Critics have claimed that Frank’s inclusion in the category is unfair and takes away the opportunity for female runners to compete on an equal footing.

The controversy prompted two-time Olympian Mara Yamauchi, who finished sixth in the marathon at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, to criticize the rules that allow transgender women to compete against biological females.

She took to Twitter to express her dismay, saying that “Males in the [female] category is UNFAIR for females” and that almost 14,000 actual females suffered a worse finish position because of Frank’s participation.

Yamauchi has also noted how UK Athletics applied World Athletics’ rules on the exclusion of transgender women from elite female competitions, but allowed those who had already entered races to still compete in categories that were not their biological sex.

Cathy Devine, a former lecturer in sport and physical activity at the University of Cumbria, also criticized the London Marathon for not having categories that exclude male performance advantages.

She tweeted, “Goddess forbid that female runners should have their own category celebrating what women runners can do.”

On the other hand, Frank claimed that she had no intention of causing controversy and only entered the race as a way to raise money for charity. She has competed in the male category in previous marathons, including the New York Marathon, where she ran wearing a bright-red bra and a long pink wig as a tourist.

She said that she ticked female on her entry form for the London Marathon because she sees herself as female and has known since she was five that she was in the wrong body. Frank also said that it was traumatic for her to be publicly attacked while “trying to spread joy and happiness with the rainbow love” at the race.

Despite the backlash, Frank has stated that she respects the criticisms she has received and will enter future races under “other” or “male” categories. She has also raised the equivalent of $37,000 for charity in the races she has participated in.

While some argue that transgender athletes should have the right to compete in the category they identify with, others claim that it is unfair to biological female athletes who may not have the same physical advantages. As sports governing bodies continue to grapple with this issue, it is important to find a balance between inclusivity and fairness for all athletes.