As registration opened today for the 127th running of the Boston Marathon, runners for the first time had the option to select nonbinary, male, or female in response to the gender question.
For nonbinary runners, the qualifying standards this year are the same as the women’s standards: 3:30 for runners who will be between 18 and 34 on race day (April 17, 2023) and adding 5 or 10 minutes for each five-year age group, up to 5:20 for runners 80 and older.
In order to register, nonbinary runners have to have qualified by completing a marathon “as a nonbinary participant” during the current qualifying window.
Language on the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) website explains the change and admits that the organization is still learning.
“With this being our first year, we do not yet have enough data to establish nonbinary qualifying times,” the BAA website reads. “Therefore, we will use the women’s qualifying standard times listed here, as they are inclusive of the qualifying times for the two existing divisions. As we prepare for future races, participants can expect nonbinary times to be updated accordingly. We view this first year as an opportunity to learn and grow together.
“Discussions are ongoing with nonbinary athletes in an effort to further promote inclusion at all BAA events.”
For all athletes, regardless of gender, registration is no guarantee of acceptance into the 2023 Boston Marathon. Traditionally, athletes have to have run faster than their qualifying times to gain entry to the marathon, although the much-anticipated “cutoff” has swung wildly in recent years.
For the 2022 marathon, everyone who applied with a verified qualifying time got in; in the fall of 2021, when the field size was only 20,000 runners due to the pandemic, the cutoff time was 7:47.
Nonbinary athletes will be listed in a nonbinary category in the 2023 Boston Marathon results, although it is not clear how large the category will be.
According to a BAA spokesperson, for the virtual 125th Boston Marathon in October 2021, 56 entrants and 42 finishers identified as nonbinary.
The BAA has offered a nonbinary category at its other events. The nonbinary category at the 2022 BAA 5K had 11 entrants, and the BAA 10K had 10 nonbinary entrants. Currently the BAA Half Marathon has 14 nonbinary entrants, and registration is still open.
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