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Boston Marathon is ‘expanding opportunities for non-binary athletes’ for the first time

Runners make their way to the finish line down Boylston Street during the 125th Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts on October 11, 2021. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNN) — The 127th Boston Marathon is allowing non-binary athletes to register within their own division for next year’s race for the first time.

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

“Entry into the event will be determined by an athlete’s submitted time and based on the Boston Marathon’s overall field size limit. The Boston Marathon registration application will feature the option to select non-binary in regards to gender.”

Those looking to enter as non-binary must have completed a race within the qualifying window of September 1, 2021 through to September 16, 2022 and participated in that race as non-binary, the BAA said.

The announcement speaks to a wider discussion of gender identity and sports. The qualifying standards for non-binary runners will be the same as for women runners this year, but the organization acknowledged the potential drawbacks of this approach.

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

“With this being our first year, we do not yet have enough data to establish non-binary qualifying times. Therefore, we will use the 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 non-binary times to be updated accordingly. We view this first year as an opportunity to learn and grow together.”

Several high-profile American races have added a non-binary division to their event programs in recent years. In September 2021, the Philadelphia Distance Run became the first elite road race to offer a non-binary division with the Brooklyn Marathon following suit in April 2022, according to the New York Times.

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

The window to register opened Monday, with the race scheduled for April 17, 2023.