Runners who hope to line up in Hopkinton this April for the 2023 Boston Marathon will have the option to register as nonbinary, a first for the in-person running of the world-famous race.
The Boston Athletic Association announced on Monday that nonbinary athletes who have completed a marathon registered as a nonbinary participant during the current qualifying window will be able to apply for entry into April's race. Registration opened on Monday and ends Friday.
The BAA said that they do not currently have enough data to establish qualifying times for nonbinary runners, so for the 2023 race they will use the current women's standards since they are inclusive of the times for the men's and women's divisions.
"As we prepare for future races, participants can expect non-binary times to be updated accordingly," the BAA said in a statement. "We view this first year as an opportunity to learn and grow together."
That's a move that Jake Fedorowski, the author of the “The Guide to Non-Binary Inclusion in Running,” said is fair given the BAA's lack of internal data on nonbinary divisions.
"As BAA, they don't necessarily have that sort of data internally and so they have to start somewhere to start to gather that data and start to work toward ... what [are] the best qualifying times for this division?" they said.
A spokesperson for the BAA said that Boston will join New York City and Chicago as Abbott World Marathon Majors in the United States that offer registration options for nonbinary runners. The spokesperson wrote that "within Boston Marathon platforms such as entry lists, results, and our mobile app, non-binary athletes will be listed among other non-binary athletes."
Just how many runners this move will impact is yet to be seen. Last October, the BAA allowed runners who participated in the virtual marathon to register as nonbinary; 56 entrants and 42 finishers in that race did so.
But Fedorowski said that inclusive moves like the one from the BAA impacts more than just nonbinary runners.
"It's affecting nonbinary foks, the entire queer community as well as just allies, right? People who are looking for more inclusive spaces," they said. "I know many straight people, many straight and cis[gender] people, who are looking for races that are being more inclusive — and kind of, in solidarity, won't register for those races that aren't doing this work. Yes, it's affecting nonbinary folks, but it's affecting a much larger community."
Fedorowski has never run Boston but submitted their time on Monday and hopes to be one of the nonbinary runners heading to Boylston Street in the spring. They said that there's still work to do for both Boston and the running world as a whole.
"So I think we can take this moment to celebrate, but we also have to recognize that it isn't the end, there's still so much ahead of us," Fedorowski said. "I'm confident that Boston is committed to that work, but I'd like to just kind of acknowledge that there's still things to look at when it comes to prize money and identifying participants and the way that we're including nonbinary and trans folks in marketing campaigns. There's just so much more that goes into making a more inclusive event, and this is just kind of one of those initial but still very important steps."