(Headline USA) The Boston Marathon announced this week that it will allow “non-binary” runners to compete in this year’s race.
Participants who register for the marathon are normally expected to select their sex, since male and female runners are judged by different qualifying times. But this year, runners will have the option to select the “non-binary” option if they don’t want to choose a gender, the organization said.
“Non-binary athletes who have completed a marathon as a non-binary participant during the current qualifying window (September 1, 2021 through September 16, 2022) may submit an entry application into the 2023 Boston Marathon between September 12-16, 2022,” the Boston Athletic Association said in a statement.
“Entry into the event will be determined by an athlete’s submitted time and based on the Boston Marathon’s overall field size limit. The Boston Marathon registration application will feature the option to select non-binary in regards to gender,” it continued.
Notably, “non-binary” runners will not be subjected to specific qualifying times, and will instead be judged by the female qualifying times — which means a male runner who wants to avoid the stricter qualifying standards could just identify as “non-binary” to have a better chance at placing.
“With this being our first year, we do not yet have enough data to establish non-binary qualifying times. Therefore, we will use the [female] times listed here, as they are inclusive of the qualifying times for the two existing divisions,” organizers said.
“As we prepare for future races, participants can expect non-binary times to be updated accordingly. We view this first year as an opportunity to learn and grow together,” they added.
Last year, Philadelphia’s Distance Run became the first premier running event to offer an option for “non-binary” athletes. The Brooklyn Marathon and Half Marathon followed shortly thereafter. There were 82 runners in the Brooklyn races who identified as “non-binary,” many of whom ended as finishers.