Parkrun women’s record held by transgender attempted murderer

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A transgender athlete imprisoned for a violent attack holds the record for a women’s race, prompting outcry from feminist activists.

Lauren Jeska, a transgender athlete, was given an 18-year sentence in 2017 for the attempted murder of a UK Athletics official after she had been in a dispute with them over her eligibility to compete as a female athlete when she was born male.

Jeska still holding the record has been described as “gobsmacking” by an activist.Credit: iStock

But on the global community fun run Parkrun website, which organises five-kilometre weekly races for all abilities around the world, Jeska continues to hold the women’s record time for Aberystwyth, with a time of 17 minutes 38 seconds, prompting outrage from campaigners for equality in women’s sport.

In 2016, the then 42-year-old left Ralph Knibbs, UK Athletics’ head of human resources, with life-threatening stab injuries after taking two knives to his office at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium.

Knibbs told the court at the time that the “traumatic, life-changing experience” had robbed him of his independence.

At the time, Jeska had not provided relevant samples to her testosterone levels and other relevant documentation, and as a result, her racing results had been declared null and void, the court heard. A week before the attack, Knibbs had gone to Jeska’s home to discuss the issue.

Women’s Rights Network founder Heather Binning told London’s Daily Telegraph: “I am lost for words that a male is stealing what should be women’s records first of all, and setting these records that will not be broken — these records are frozen, women won’t beat them.”

She said it was “gobsmacking” that Jeska was in prison for attempted murder of somebody from UK Athletics who was questioning how eligible the runner was as an athlete, 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”.

“Politicians are turning their backs and sports associations are frightened and are being hung out to dry,” she said.

“Why is it that volunteer women are having to hunt out these things around the country?

“More people take part in Parkrun than the Olympics — it does matter. The grassroots is where the elite athletes come from — girls and women will not in these circumstances want to participate.”

She said that it was “one thing” that biologically male athletes were breaking women’s records but another that violent male offenders remained in the female prison estate.

The news comes after British Olympian Mara Yamauchi questioned Parkrun’s self-ID gender policy for runners, stating that it was allowing biologically male runners to “smash women’s records to smithereens”.

The Telegraph contacted Parkrun for comment.

The Telegraph, UK

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