The annual Boston Marathon registration day is thrilling for those who have hit the qualifying standards. Monday held some extra excitement for non-binary athletes hoping to run North America’s oldest marathon, as they could now register in their own category for the first time.
The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) acknowledged on Monday that while they don’t have the data yet to create new timing standards for non-binary athletes, they “are working on ways non-binary participants are accepted into the event.” For non-binary athletes, the qualifying standards will be the same as those in the women’s field. The BAA added that the “qualification times would be updated accordingly” in future races.
“Non-binary athletes who have completed a marathon as a non-binary participant during the current qualifying window (Sept. 1, 2021, through Sept. 16, 2023) may submit an entry application into the 2023 Boston Marathon,” the BAA states. The 2023 Boston Marathon registration application featured the option to select non-binary in regard to gender.
Pro runner Nikki Hiltz, who finished second at Sunday’s NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile, shared that they were transgender and non-binary in April of this year. “There’s still so much work to be done but I’m thrilled that nonbinary runners are being acknowledged by the Boston Marathon and the BAA,” Hiltz tweeted.
The BAA is planning to expand opportunities for non-binary people–not just for the marathon but for the BAA’s other races, which include a 5K, 10K and half marathon.
In 2020, the Philadelphia Distance Run became the first large race in the U.S. to establish a non-binary division with equal prize money. The Brooklyn Marathon and Brooklyn Half followed in April. Eight-two competitors who had registered as non-binary participants were among the finishers.
On Wednesday, the 2023 TCS London Marathon followed the BAA’s lead, announcing that they will have three gender options when the application ballot opens on Oct.1. For the mass participation event, runners will be able to enter as male, female and non-binary. The elite races, which all operate under World Athletics rules, will not offer a non-binary gender option.
Hugh Brasher, event director of TCS London Marathon, echoed the BAA’s sentiment that while more work on inclusivity is necessary, this is a step forward. “We know there is still much more to be done, but changes such as this demonstrate our commitment to making the TCS London Marathon an event that is for everyone,” Brasher said.
This story has been updated.