The Boston Marathon expands opportunities for non-binary athletes for the first time


The 127th Boston Marathon will, for the first time, allow non-binary athletes to enter within their own division for next year’s race.

“The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) is currently working to expand opportunities for non-binary athletes at our events, including the upcoming 2023 Boston Marathon,” the race organizers said on their registration website.

“Participation in the event will be determined by an athlete’s submitted time and based on the Boston Marathon’s total field size limit. The Boston Marathon enrollment application provides the option to select non-binary in terms of gender.”

Those wishing to compete as non-binary must have completed a race within the September 1, 2021 to September 16, 2022 qualification window and entered that race as non-binary, the BAA said.

The announcement speaks to a broader discussion about gender identity and sport. The qualification standards for non-binary runners are the same as for women runners this year, but the organization acknowledged the potential downsides of this approach.

“Discussions are ongoing with non-binary athletes to further promote inclusion at all BAA events,” the race officials said.

“As this is our first year, we do not yet have enough data to determine non-binary qualifying times. Therefore we use the times listed here as they contain the qualifying times for the two existing divisions.

“As we prepare for future races, competitors can expect non-binary times to be updated accordingly. We see this first year as an opportunity to learn and grow together.”

Several top-flight American races have added a non-binary division to their event schedules in recent years. In September 2021, the Philadelphia Distance Run became the first elite road race to offer a non-binary division, followed by the Brooklyn Marathon in April 2022, according to the New York Times.

The Boston Marathon and its organizers have long been among the pioneers of inclusive politics. In 1975, the race added a wheelchair category, making it the first major marathon to do so, according to its website.

The registration window opened on Monday, the race is scheduled for April 17, 2023.