Boston Marathon Will Have Nonbinary Runner Category Next Year

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The Boston Marathon will have a third gender category next year.

In addition to having a men’s division and a women’s division in the 2023 race, there will be a category for runners who identify as nonbinary, according to the Boston Athletic Association’s registration page.

Nonbinary is an umbrella term that describes someone who identifies as something other than male or female.

The Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the marathon, issued a statement on the matter on the marathon registration page.

The organization says it lacks the data to create qualifying times for nonbinary runners, so it will use the standards used in the women’s division — which are generally half an hour slower than those used by the men’s division. 

This means that in the 18 to 34 category, nonbinary runners must have a qualifying time of 3:30 or better, while the standards gradually loosen for the older categories. Those exceeding 80 years old must have a time of 5:20 or better.

“As we prepare for future races, participants can expect non-binary times to be updated accordingly,” the Boston Athletic Association’s statement reads. “We view this first year as an opportunity to learn and grow together.”

The 2023 Boston Marathon is set to have 30,000 participants. It’s unclear how many of them will identify as nonbinary.

The Boston Marathon won’t be the first race in the country that allows runners to register in a nonbinary category.

More than 200 road races in the United States already have that category available for runners, according to This includes the Syrup Stampede 5K, a five-kilometer road race that takes place in Florence, Massachusetts in April each year.

Last April, the Brooklyn Marathon, and half-marathon, had more than 20,000 participants combined. Of them, 82 ran in the nonbinary division, according to The New York Times.

The winners of the men’s and women’s divisions each receive a $150,00 prize, according to the Boston Athletic Association’s web site. However, the Boston Athletic Association will not be offering cash prizes to top performers in the nonbinary division.

“The Boston Marathon’s professional division rules and protocols are established by our sport’s governing bodies:  World Athletics, USA Track & Field, and World Para Athletics,” a spokesman for the Boston Athletic Association told NewBostonPost in an email message. “To receive prize money at the Boston Marathon, athletes must be invited to start and compete amongst one of the professional divisions (Professional Men, Professional Women, Wheelchair, or Para Athletics Division) based on previous athletic accomplishments and/or qualifying time. As governed by World Athletics, USA Track & Field, and World Para Athletics, to receive prize money and compete among the professional divisions one must designate their gender as male or female.”

The spokesman continued:  “Non-binary athletes who may be eligible for invitational entry into the professional fields would need to designate their gender based on World Athletics, USA Track & Field, or World Para Athletics rules prior to competing for prize money.”

The next Boston Marathon is scheduled to take place April 17, 2023. The 26.2-mile race begins in Hopkinton, Massachusetts; the finish line is on Boylston Street in Boston.


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