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Western States 100 aims for inclusivity in updated policies for transgender, non-binary and pregnant athletes

WSER's new rules strive to encourage and facilitate the participation of transgender and non-binary runners

ailsa macdonald

One of the oldest and most respected ultratrail races in the world has taken a further step at making their race more inclusive. On Wednesday morning, the board of Western States Endurance Run (WSER) released policy updates around transgender and non-binary entrants, as well as an updated pregnancy deferral policy.

WSER says that these new rules align with their “goal of ensuring fair and inclusive practices that respect the personal rights and dignity of transgender and nonbinary entrants while preserving the integrity of competition for awards and records.”

 

 
 
 
 
 
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In October, Riley Brady became the first ever non-binary athlete to secure a golden ticket to WSER, finishing second at Javelina Jundred 100-mile race. While Ultrasigup allows runners to choose from three gender categories, it was the first time that Javelina Jundred organizers had included a non-binary division. An already urgent and important conversation about the need to expand inclusivity in ultrarunning–and inclusivity in general in the sport–became heightened after Brady’s remarkable performance.

In an article Brady co-authored with coach David Roche in trailrunnermag, Brady explains: “Leading up to Javelina, I had emailed the race directors to inform them that I was seeking a Golden Ticket, which the race organization asks you to do. On my Ultrasignup page, I have indicated my gender as ‘nonbinary’ and my division as ‘female.’

As this was the first year Javelina had a non-binary division, the live results updates defaulted to the gender category. “As I understand it now, that misunderstanding may have contributed to some confusion online after the race, even as I emailed them in advance and followed the rules at every step,” shared Brady.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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While WSER already had policies in place for transgender athletes, they have now clarified and updated those regulations, as well as added clear rules for non-binary entrants and an updated and more inclusive pregnancy deferral policy. Here’s what you need to know about the updates, as per the WSER website.

Updates for transgender athletes

Transgender women can register to compete in the female category, provided they have been undergoing continuous, medically supervised hormone treatment for gender transition for at least one year before the race. They can race in the male category with no restrictions.

Transgender men can register to compete in the male or female category, unless they are undergoing hormone treatment related to gender transition that includes testosterone or any other banned substance, in which case they must register in the male category.

Policy for non-binary athletes

During registration, all entrants will have the opportunity to select their gender category–male, female or non-binary. Entrants who select non-binary will also need to choose a  category (male or female) for results and awards.

Non-binary entrants who are male-assigned at birth must select male as their category for results and awards, unless they meet the requirements for transgender women to compete in the female category under this policy.

Non-binary entrants who are female-assigned at birth can choose the female or male category for results and awards, unless they are undergoing hormone treatment related to gender transition that includes testosterone or any other banned substance, in which case they must select the male category.

Pregnancy deferral policy update

To defer a race entry due to pregnancy, entrants must submit a pregnancy entry deferral request in writing to the race director no later than 1 p.m. on the Friday before the race, as well as providing written confirmation of the pregnancy signed by a physician or medical professional.

The pregnancy deferral policy applies to anyone with a race entry who is pregnant at the time they enter the lottery and gets selected, becomes pregnant after the lottery and prior to race day regardless of how they obtained their race entry (lottery, sponsor etc.), or is an automatic entrant (top 10, golden ticket, etc.) and becomes pregnant or gives birth after obtaining their race entry and prior to race day.

For the complete transgender and non-binary athlete policy updates, head here. For pregnancy deferral guidelines, head here.

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