Chicago Marathon Offers ‘Non-Binary’ Category, But Participants Still Not Happy

For the first time in history, those who run in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon will be able to compete in a “non-binary” category.

“Non-binary” is a term that refers to people who identify as neither male nor female.

Let that sink in…

One of the world’s most respected marathon races is no longer limiting participants to the tried and true gender categories of “male” and “female.”

“At the end of the day, we don’t want people showing up, being misgendered, having a negative experience. No one is advocating for that,” marathon consultant Jake Fedorowski told WLS-TV.

Already there are approximately 100 runners in the race registered to participate in Sunday’s race in this new category. 

You would think these runners would be pleased, but non-binary runner Cal Calamia said that marathon officials are not going far enough. 

Calamia did describe the change in the race as “exciting,” he/she did criticize marathon officials for not making a public announcement recognizing the “non-binary” category. Calamia condemned officials for not providing non-binary runners with a monetary prize, a finish-line ribbon, or an “elite” category, according to the Chicago Tribune. 

“Personally, it feels hurtful because it feels performative, or brushed under the rug, because it really is a big deal,” Calamia told the newspaper.

“As a trans athlete, showing up and registering for these races is a hard thing to do, because there’s not usually space,” Calamia added. “What makes it easier is when big organizations with a lot of power say, ‘We’re adding this category and we’re proud of it, and we’re doing what it takes to celebrate these runners who are now being invited to our event.’”

Chicago is the second major marathon to add a “non-binary” category. The New York City Marathon first did it last year.

The Boston and London Marathons will also add the category for 2023.