The first running of the Jersey City Marathon and Half-Marathon this weekend will feature a special division and cash prizes for nonbinary runners, according to reports.
According to the Star-Ledger, “In Jersey City, 10 nonbinary runners in the marathon and four in the half marathon were among the 6,300 runners overall who had signed up as of Thursday morning, said race director Steve Lipski.”
According to Lipski, the organizers decided to include the nonbinary category to express “love and respect for people.”
“Who are we to challenge how they identify,” Lipski, himself a 12-time marathoner, told the Star-Ledger.
Both the New York City and Boston Marathons recently added nonbinary divisions to their races. Though, only one, the NYC Marathon, included cash prizes for the nonbinary division. The top performers in Jersey City Marathon & Half-Marathon will each receive a $5,000 and $1,000 prize, respectively.
The marathon’s decision to include a nonbinary category drew praise from New Jersey’s leading LGBT advocates.
“Ensuring that competition is equitable based on gender identity is an important step toward inclusion,” said Christian Fuscarino, executive director of Garden State Equality.
“For many nonbinary people, being forced to compete in either the men’s or women’s division can be a point of discomfort. This allows them to compete in a way that feels safe and comfortable to them.”
Fuscarino added, “If someone is a race organizer, I would encourage them to consider adding a nonbinary division to their race. They may cast a wider net for those willing to participate.”
On Thursday, House Republicans voted to ban males from being able to compete against women in sports. Though, the Biden administration has announced they will veto the measure,