This year’s Boston Marathon was the first time nonbinary runners were able to register in a division that matches their gender identity.
Twenty-seven nonbinary athletes competed with Kae Ravichandran winning the category on Monday. The runner finished in 2:38:56.
The addition of a new nonbinary category to race registrations for the Boston and London Marathons was announced in September 2022.
These two World Marathon Majors follow in the footsteps of their counterparts - New York City and Chicago - by adding the new category.
The New York City Marathon first added a nonbinary category to race registration in 2021. The Chicago Marathon followed in 2022.
“Having this nonbinary category is kind of a way to acknowledge that not everyone is a man or a woman,” Cal Calamia (they/them), a nonbinary transmasculine Boston Marathon participant, said in an interview with Yahoo! life.
“The word nonbinary for me means, I’m not either one of these two things. I’m both. I’m more than. I’m everything in between,” said Calamia. “It’s more complicated than your traditional gender categorization.”
The San Francisco resident and high school health and Spanish teacher became the first runner to win the city’s Bay to Breakers 12-mile race under the newly created nonbinary category last year.
But after learning that no prizes or awards were offered to winners under the category, Calamia was motivated to advocate for overall gender inclusivity in marathons.
“We deserve to be physically active and we deserve to prioritize our physical health in the same way as cisgender folks do,” elaborated Calamia to Yahoo! Life. “I’m not trying to take anything from you. None of us are trying to take anything from anyone. We just want to run our race and […] feel connected with ourselves.”
Calamia and Jake Fedorowski (they/them), nonbinary runner and advocate for non-binary inclusion in running, helped create the nonbinary category for this year’s Boston Marathon.
A Seattle-based operations coordinator, Fedorowski created a guide to nonbinary inclusion in running last year after witnessing a number of races introduce a nonbinary division.
They started to offer insight on the process of nonbinary inclusion in races as a consultant to several big race organizations like the Chicago and San Francisco Marathons.
And with more races incorporating nonbinary divisions, Fedorowski built a database that lists over 250 races who have included nonbinary divisions. But they point out that it is still not a lot compared to the thousands of races across the country.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done, but I’m glad five of the six [World Marathon Majors] are doing it because they are the leaders in the industry and races are going to follow what they do,” said Fedorowski to Runner’s World. The Tokyo Marathon is the only World Marathon Major remaining that has not added a nonbinary category. “I think we’re going to see exponential change in the coming months and years.”