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Transgender runner to complete ‘big six’ marathons as three different genders

A transgender charity runner from Daventry will attempt to complete the full set of six marathon ‘majors’ in Boston on Monday after competing in the events in three gender categories.

Glenique Frank, who apologised after last year’s London Marathon following criticism for running in the female category, is calling on race organisers to now introduce a specific category for transgender athletes.

“I want to campaign to get a category in world sport and charity events, anything, for transgender athletes,” she told the BBC.

“Governments around the world need to look at this seriously because there is a lot of transgender athletes that are entering illegally and it’s actually giving the transgender community a bad name.”

The 55-year-old has raised around £36,000 for UK charities in previously completing the other five 26.2 mile marathon majors in New York, Tokyo, Chicago, Berlin and London.

After running as a male in New York in 2022, she has run as a female and then ‘non-binary’ in Chicago and Berlin last year following the controversy over her category choice in London.

Frank has entered Monday’s Boston Marathon in the non-binary category and, should she complete the race, she will be awarded with ‘The Six Star’ Abbott medal in recognition of finishing all six world major marathons.

“I am going to continue to raise money for charity until I can’t run anymore, or I’ll walk,” Frank told the Daventry Express. “I just want to help. I want people to know that I’m happy for their support.”.

‘I don’t have a choice. I feel left out’

Frank, who has been fundraising for the children’s charity Whizz-Kidz, finished 6,160th out of a female field of more than 20,000 in London in a time of 4hr 11min 28sec in what was her 17th consecutive appearance in the iconic event.

“I wasn’t intending to mislead the public, but I apologise for entering under the female category,” she said last year. “ I should have entered under the male category. I’ve just entered as a general public participant and I’m raising money for charity.”

Speaking earlier this year, she added: “I still feel terrible that I upset so many women. It’s quite a serious thing. When that story broke, the world’s media thought I was a cheat, and all I am is a charity runner. It knocked my confidence.

“It’s all about my identity. I don’t want to offend non-binary people. At the moment, when I enter, I’m forced to enter under the non-binary category. Unfortunately, they don’t have a transgender category.

“I don’t have a choice. It’s very limited. I feel left out. It’s not good enough. If they just added transgender women and men to the categories, we’d all be happy. I’m not ‘other’. I’m transgender.

“Because I don’t conform, angry people think that I’m evil, negative, or bad. I’m campaigning for all people who don’t conform to the norms that are expected of them. Humans shouldn’t be angry with each other but rather ask questions.”

World and UK Athletics have banned transgender women from competing in the female category if they have gone through male puberty but the world governing body is open to introducing further categories. 

“The transgender issue is only at elite level,” said Lord Coe, the World Athletics president. “I’m not saying trans people shouldn’t be able to compete at a local level – we don’t want them to be denied the mental and physical [benefits]. It may be that we have a third category.”

The Government will on Monday host a roundtable with British sports over the issue of transgender inclusion. Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer wants sport to prioritise “fairness and safety” of female participants in their competitive guidance, with the policies of the Football Association and the England and Wales Cricket Board under particular scrutiny.

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