Non-binary athletes will be able to compete in next year’s Boston and London Marathons without having to register in either the men’s or the women’s divisions, organisers for the events have confirmed.
The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) said runners will be able to select a non-binary with regard to gender when they apply for next year’s race. “Discussions are ongoing with nonbinary athletes in an effort to further promote inclusion at all BAA events,” the group said.
The director of the London Marathon, Hugh Brasher, said the decision was a “significant step” in improving the race’s diversity. “Changes such as this demonstrate our commitment to making the London Marathon for everyone,” he said. Brasher said the non-binary category would only apply to the mass participation start, and not the elite event.
Runners hoping to compete in the Boston Marathon are required to meet strict qualifying times. The BAA said that because it does not yet have enough data to establish non-binary qualifying times, it will use standards applied to the women’s division.
“As we prepare for future races, participants can expect nonbinary times to be updated accordingly,” the BAA said. It was unclear whether the BAA has a policy for applications from transgender runners.
More than 200 races across the United States have added a non-binary division for participants, according to Jake Fedorowski, a runner who created an online guide to non-binary inclusion in the field. Fedorowski’s work is sponsored by the Road Runners Club of America and Seattle Frontrunners, two popular running groups. The Brooklyn Marathon and Half Marathon, another popular running event, had more than 80 finishers in the non-binary division of its April 2022 races, according to its website.
The 2023 editions of the London and Boston Marathons will take place on 17 and 23 April, respectively. The 2023 race will mark the 10th anniversary of the deadly 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.