Racers in the 2023 Boston Marathon have the option now to enter the race as male, female or nonbinary, organizers said.
The Boston Athletic Association said it has been working to expand opportunities for nonbinary people, not just for the marathon but for other BAA races, which include a 5K, a 10K and a half marathon, CBS News reported. The new nonbinary option was announced this week as registration opened Monday for the 127th marathon scheduled for April 17, 2023.
Nonbinary athletes can submit entry applications if they've completed a marathon as a nonbinary participant during the current qualifying window, the BAA said. It is still working to establish qualifying standards for nonbinary participants, but online applications will include "nonbinary" as a gender option.
"Discussions are ongoing with nonbinary athletes in an effort to further promote inclusion at all BAA events," the organization said, adding, "We view this first year as an opportunity to learn and grow together."
There's been a push for greater gender inclusion in sports in the United States and around the world. Nonbinary is a term used by some people who say they don't fit into the gender categories of man or woman.
"A truly inclusive marathon provides space for every runner to register, compete and be celebrated exactly as they are," said Joanna Hoffman, spokesperson for Athlete Ally, a group that advocates for LGBTQI+ equality in sports.
Two of the world's top marathons, Boston and London, will allow runners to identify as nonbinary when they enter the races next year. https://t.co/AuJ1pqawOK— NPR (@NPR) September 14, 2022
"Including a nonbinary category in the Boston and London Marathons, following the New York Marathon's prior adoption, is a critical step forward. No runner should be forced to participate in a category that does not match their identity," Hoffman added, as reported by NPR.
The Boston Marathon is the latest major marathon to begin adding nonbinary divisions, CBS News reported. Last year's Philadelphia Distance Run, which offers a half marathon and a 5K, became the first large race in the U.S. to establish a nonbinary division and offer equal prize money.
The Brooklyn Marathon and Half Marathon followed in April. Eighty-two competitors who had registered as nonbinary participants were among the finishers, CBS reported.