Boston Marathons Will Feature a Non-Binary Division

Boston Marathon
Courtesy of John beagle (Flickr CC0)

The Boston and London Marathons will allow non-binary athletes to participate without needing to sign up for either the men’s or the women’s divisions, event organizers announced. When applying for the marathon the next year, runners will be entitled to choose a non-binary with regard to gender, according to the Boston Athletic Association (BAA).

Hugh Brasher, the director of the London Marathon, called the choice a “significant step” in increasing the race’s diversity. Changes like this show our dedication to making the London Marathon accessible, he said. The non-binary category, according to Brasher, would only be applicable to the mass participation start and not the elite event.

Running enthusiasts who want to participate in the Boston Marathon must achieve demanding qualification standards. The BAA stated that it will employ criteria used in the women’s category because it does not currently have enough data to establish non-binary qualifying timings.

Boston Marathon
Courtesy of Nicki Dugan Pogue (Flickr CC0)

According to Jake Fedorowski, a runner who published an online manual on non-binary inclusion in the sport, more than 200 races have expanded to include a non-binary division for competitors. The Road Runners Club of America and Seattle Frontrunners, two well-known running organizations, are the sponsors of Fedorowski’s work. In the non-binary classification of its April 2022 races, the Brooklyn Marathon and Half Marathon, another well-known running event, had more than 80 finishers.

The 2023 London and Boston Marathons will be held on April 17 and April 23, respectively. The fatal 2013 Boston Marathon explosions will be commemorated in 2023 at the event’s 10th anniversary.

The Boston Athletic Association stated in a statement that because it is the first year that nonbinary runners will be permitted to register, the organization lacked the data necessary to produce qualifying times specifically for them in the Boston Marathon. Instead, to participate in the event, nonbinary runners must achieve qualifying standards that are equivalent to those used for the women’s category, which the race’s organizers claimed included the requirements for the two currently-existing categories.

There will be 30,000 runners in the 2023 Boston Marathon. In one of the most prestigious marathons in the world, runners who meet the qualifying times are not guaranteed a berth in the race.

According to a database compiled by marathon runner Jake Fedorowski, who also wrote a guide for race directors on nonbinary inclusion in running, more than 200 races in the United States feature nonbinary categories or enable people to register as such.

About 10 years ago three spectators were killed and over 260 others were injured when two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon finish line on April 15, 2013, in what is known as the Boston Marathon Bombing. Police apprehended 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the bombing suspects, after a protracted manhunt. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the suspect’s older brother and another suspect, was killed in a confrontation with authorities. Investigators came to the conclusion that the Tsarnaev family, who spent a portion of their upbringing in the former Soviet country of Kyrgyzstan, planned and executed the act independently without assistance from any terrorist organizations. The oldest yearly marathon in the world, the Boston Marathon, completed its 117th edition on April 15, 2013. The sun-filled afternoon was suddenly transformed into a terrible spectacle of carnage, ruin, and mayhem by his explosions.

In recent years, a number of well-known American races have expanded their event lineups to include a non-binary division. According to the New York Times, the Philadelphia Distance Run introduced a non-binary division in September 2021, and the Brooklyn Marathon followed suit in April 2022.

One of the early adopters of inclusive rules was the Boston Marathon and its organizers. According to the race’s website, the event adopted a wheelchair category in 1975, making it the first significant marathon to do so. The registration period began on Monday, and the race is planned on April 17.

Written by Daniel Murillo
Edited by Sheena Robertson


History: bombing during the Boston Marathon

CNN: Boston Marathon is ‘expanding opportunities for non-binary athletes’ for the first time

The Guardian: London and Boston Marathons to include non-binary category for 2023 races

Top and Featured Image of John Beagle Flickr Page- Creative Commons License

Inset Image Courtesy of Nicki Dugan Pogue Flickr Page- Creative Commons License

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