This weekend, New York City was full of firsts and personal bests with more than 50,000 runners making their way through the New York City Marathon's 26.2-mile course throughout the city’s five boroughs.
The race marked not only the largest pool of nonbinary registrants with more than 60 competing nonbinary runners — a leg up from 2021’s 16 — but it also marked the first time a World Marathon Major would award prize money to nonbinary athletes. The winner of the nonbinary division, Jake Caswell, crossed the finish line with a time of 2:45:12.
While their time was impressive enough, it also earned Caswell a $5,000 cash prize. Despite five of the six World Marathon Major races adding nonbinary divisions, New York City is the first to put its money where its mouth is by including nonbinary participants in the financial festivities too.
With Caswell bringing home $5,000 for first place in the nonbinary division, Zackary Harris, last year’s winner, came second at 3:09:41 earning $4,000; Justin Solle came third at 3:14:48 earning $3,000; Nick Dill finished fourth at 3:27:30 earning $2,000; Erin Anthony earned $1,000 at fifth place with a time of 3:29:33.
The history-making race was part of a larger initiative to increase access to build inclusivity in the sport of running. In an event the night prior, hosted by Michelob Ultra, members of the running community convened to discuss gender inclusivity in the sport.
“It’s heavy, and as runners, we want to feel weightless,” creator of The Guide to Nonbinary Inclusion in Running, Jake Federowski, said in Runners World. By building out nonbinary divisions, “folks show up to the starting line as their authentic selves and just exist in the space.”
The event marked the launch of the Michelob Ultra Fund, providing first-time marathon runners from underrepresented genders with free entry and training plans to the New York City Marathon.
With networks of support and a new cash incentive, we’re likely to see greater representation of nonbinary runners in races to come.
"We are so proud that the TCS New York City Marathon attracts such a diverse and global community of runners, and we are deeply focused on ensuring all of our athletes feel welcome and included at NYRR," NYRR Runners CEO Kerin Hempel said announcing the prize in October.
Caswell ran their first full marathon just last year, winning the nonbinary division of the Brooklyn Marathon in the spring.
“Being able to not even win but just compete as yourself, it’s just been freeing,” Caswell said to The New York Times at the time.
While running and gender nonconforming communities online have echoed excitement, some have raised an eyebrow at the discrepancies between prize money awarded to nonbinary winners and their cisgendered counterparts.
Since the World Marathon Majors' governing body doesn’t currently offer prize money for nonbinary athletes, the New York Road Runners (NYRR) paid out of pocket for the top five nonbinary competitors. While Caswell made strides for nonbinary runners this weekend, the race to equity is yet to be won.
Photo courtesy of Babaroga/Shutterstock
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