Marathons are Becoming More Inclusive

These races are opening registration for all qualified runners.


Runners competing in the London Marathon.

(Mr Pics /

In today’s inclusive world, gender is not limited to male and female. Some people’s gender is fluid and others are transgender or nonbinary. Now, two of the world’s top marathons will open registration to nonbinary runners.

The Boston and London marathons will give runners the option to enter the race as male, female or nonbinary in 2023, according to NPR, joining other races that already added this option including, the New York Marathon, Philadelphia Distance Run, and Brooklyn Marathon.

“A truly inclusive marathon provides space for every runner to register, compete and be celebrated exactly as they are,” Joanna Hoffman, spokesperson for Athlete Ally, a group that advocates for LGBTQI+ equality in sports, told NPR. “No runner should be forced to participate in a category that does not match their identity,” she added.

The London Marathon
All runners in the open participation categories will have three gender options when registration opens on October 1, 2022, according to an official news release. However the Elite, Championship, and Good For all races operate under the world athletic rules and still do not offer a nonbinary category.

“This is a significant step forward for the TCS London Marathon as we continue our journey to make our event truly inclusive,” Hugh Brasher, the marathon’s  event director said in the press release.

“We know there is still much more to be done, but changes such as this demonstrate our commitment to making the TCS London Marathon an event that is for everyone,” he said. The TCS London Marathon will be held on Sunday April 23, 2023.

The Boston Marathon
The 127th Boston Marathon is opening up registration for nonbinary runners for the April 17, 2023 race, according to NPR. While nonbinary runners can join the race, they will not be able to win prize money.

That’s because “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 marathon’s spokesperson Chris Lotsbom told NPR.

Discussions are being held with nonbinary athletes to make the race more inclusive reported CNN. Race officials told the news agency, that since this is the first year, they do not have enough data to establish non-binary qualifying times.

While this may not be completely equitable, it is an important step for a race that has considered itself inclusive. In 1975, the Boston Marathon added a wheelchair category, a world’s first for major races. As more and more transgender runners sign up, it could become the norm for all marathons.

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