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Boston Marathon Is Fully Including Non-Binary Runners for the First Time & It’s a Step in the Right Direction

For the first time in history, the Boston Marathon has announced that nonbinary athletes will be able to compete without having to register in the women’s or men’s category. 

The marathon opened registration for their 2023 race on Monday and runners were able to identify themselves as nonbinary on the application. The Boston Athletic Association said in a statement that the organization did not have enough data at the time to establish a qualifying time for nonbinary runners, since this is the first year the category is available. Nonbinary runners will instead have to meet qualifying times that match the women’s division. Something race organizers said were inclusive of the standards for the two existing divisions. 

“As we prepare for future races, participants can expect nonbinary times to be updated accordingly,” organizers said in the statement. “We view this first year as an opportunity to learn and grow together.” The statement also included that the organization is working closely with nonbinary athletes to best understand how they can work together to create a marathon that is inclusive and understanding. 

As the oldest annually contested marathon in the world, the Boston Marathon often sets the standard in the running world. So much so, following the announcement, several major races announced that they too will include a non-binary profile on their applications.

The London Marathon announced on Wednesday that they will debut a nonbinary category on their 2023 application. And the Berlin Marathon, which is scheduled for Sept. 25, will allow runners to update their race profile and nonbinary runners will have their identities reflected in this year’s results. They also announced that the category will be a permanent fixture on their 2023 application. 

Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the TCS London Marathon, said: “This is a significant step forward for the TCS London Marathon as we continue our journey to make our event truly inclusive. 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.”

The Boston and London Marathon are part of the World Marathon Majors, a collection of the world’s six largest marathons. They join the New York City Marathon, which added a nonbinary category in 2021 and the Chicago Marathon which will feature a nonbinary category for the first time this year.  

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