A transgender athlete easily beat a woman's running record for a 5K race recently, with the former record holder telling outlets she feels "robbed" and "cheated."
According to the Daily Mail, Deb Roberts, now 51 years old, set a 5K race record for the 40-45 women's category in 2018 with a time of 20 minutes and six seconds. Previous records were just seconds behind, at 20 minutes 10 seconds and 20 minutes 18 seconds.
However, transgender athlete Sian Longthorpe smashed the record by more than a minute with a time of 18 minutes and 53 seconds in Porthcawl, South Wales, in the United Kingdom.
Longthorpe, a 45-year-old who appears to have previously gone by the name Simon, was living as a married man as recently as four years prior to the race.
Former record holder Roberts, who is a prison officer, recently competed on the same course but in the women's 50-55 age group. Roberts expressed discontent with the transgender runner after learning her record had been broken.
"I only realized the record had still been mine when my friend told me last night. She then went on to tell me that it had been broken, by a trans athlete," Roberts explained. "I felt robbed, to be honest. If my record has been beaten by a natural-born female runner, I would have accepted that as fair and square," she continued.
"I am very competitive, but I would've thought it was fair enough because all records are there to be broken and mine is no different. Except this is different because my record has been broken by someone who was not born as a woman. That does not seem fair," the prison officer added.
Roberts said she is still unsure whether she will complain, however, due to not wanting to be perceived as a poor loser.
"My friends have told me I must complain to Parkrun, but I'm not sure yet whether or not I will," she stated. "Parkrun is supposed to be about inclusivity, and I don't want people thinking I'm having a moan just because I lost my record."
Roberts said she once complained because a man used his wife's barcode to register his race time, and his result was overturned.
"When I complained, the officials put it right. Somehow, I don't think that will happen this time," she predicted.
Longthorpe appears to have been featured in a 2020 profile on an Instagram page promoting runners. In the profile, Longthorpe explains the three factors that played into him believing he was a woman.
"One was the birth of my son. This was a hugely stressful time and I retreated more into this world I had built, Siân’s world, where life was rosier," Simon explained. "My wife knew about it and would reluctantly leave me alone to go there. The second was when my marriage broke down. I had more time to be Siân, and I embraced it. Even to do a mundane task, like housework, I would get made up and present as Siân as I felt more comfortable."
The third moment, as Longthorpe described it, was when a close friend committed suicide.
Parkrun, the race organizer, told the Daily Mail that the organization believes it would not be "appropriate or practical" to request proof of gender or "adjudicate the validity of a person's gender identity."
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