The Boston Marathon, the world’s oldest annual marathon, sets standards in the running world. So when Boston Athletic AssociationOrganizer of the competition announced this week He sent a message to runners like Cal Kalamiya that he invites them to compete next year without having to register in either the men’s or women’s category.
“The Boston Marathon is the pinnacle of marathons,” said Calamia, 26, who won the dual division of this year’s San Francisco Marathon. “So hearing from them is a huge change for trans and non-binary athletes in the running community.”
The policy change immediately permeated the sport. On Wednesday The London Marathon has added its name. A list of athletic events expanding to a non-binary category for the first time. Participants can register for the 2023 race as non-binary.
And it will allow Berlin Marathon athletes to update their profiles to reflect their gender identity in this year’s race on September 25, according to a spokesperson for the World Marathon Majors, a series that includes the Berlin race. Non-binary runners will be identified in this year’s results, and the race will add an informal category to its 2023 entry.
The Boston and London marathons are also part of the race. World Marathon MajorsA collection of the six largest marathons in the world. They will join the New York City Marathon, which added a non-binary division in 2021, and the Chicago Marathon, which this year will have a non-binary division for the first time. Another Tokyo marathon has not announced a non-binary field, the spokesman said.
In particular, the addition of non-binary categories in major marathons; and other road raceshave so far faced little public controversy, in stark contrast to the intense political debate surrounding the inclusion of transgender athletes in sports.
At least 18 states In recent years, they have introduced restrictions on transgender sports participation. And in June, the world’s best body to swim Banned transgender women From high-level women’s international competition, creating a separate category for such athletes.
Taking a different tack, major marathons and many other road races have allowed runners, including transgender runners, to register using their gender identity. But until recently, athletes were only asked to identify whether they were male or female.
Many marathons have begun discussions about adding a non-binary category in the past year, largely driven by conversations with non-binary athletes.
Jake Fedorowski, who uses pronouns, helped lead the grassroots movement after trying to sign up for a marathon last summer.
“I was running a race when I came to a registration platform,” said 27-year-old Fedorovsky. Give money to the races that don’t confirm or respect my identity. If there’s a race I want to run, I can contact the race director.’
And so they did. “I wanted to register as myself,” said Fedorowski, who organized a marathon last summer in Eugene, Ore. The tournament added the option to register as a double runner for the 2023 event.
When the San Francisco Marathon included a non-binary division for the first time this July, Calamia, who identifies as trans and non-binary and uses the pronouns he and they, jumped at the chance, even though he wasn’t in peak marathon shape. They became the first winner of the competition by finishing 3 hours in the dual division.
After that, Calamia addressed the Boston Marathon.
“I’ve qualified on both the men’s and women’s levels, but I can’t register without my kit,” Calamia told Boston organizers. “How can I run this race fair and square?”
Conversations around inclusion led Fedorovsky to create a Collection of resources For runners and race organizers a Genealogy database with non-binary fields. At the beginning of this week, it includes 228 races in the United States and 20 internationally.
The new non-binary division of the Boston Marathon has added significance because it includes qualifying stages. Many runners spend months trying to beat Boston’s strict eligibility criteria, which are based on age and gender. Marathon qualifying time is the gold standard.
b Sign up for the Boston MarathonWomen ages 18 to 34 must run another marathon in 3 hours and 30 minutes, and men ages 18 to 34 must meet the 3 hour standard. (Qualifying times increase as runners get older.)
Boston organizers said they tried to be transparent about the process in discussions with Kalmia, Fedorovsky and other non-binary athletes when setting qualifying times for non-binary runners. “We didn’t want to say, ‘Oh, we can’t do this in 2023, we don’t have the data yet, so we’re not ready,'” said Jack Fleming, acting CEO of the Boston Athletic Association. He said.
Instead, organizers announced that they will use the current women’s qualifying times as a non-standard division, with plans to improve non-binary qualifying times for future races as they gather more data.
Even if a non-binary class is established and qualifying times extended, further details still need to be worked out, runners said.
“Prize money, awards, class awards, rules, the list goes on and on,” Fedorowski said. “So I’m trying to emphasize that it’s an important step and it’s very important, but it’s a step.”