By Saswat Pattanayak
FOR THE FIRST time in the history of the New York City Marathon, prize money will be awarded to non-binary runners during next month’s race.
The New York Road Runners (NYRR) had first introduced a non-binary category in June of 2021 but the New York City Marathon event will be the first Abbott World Marathon Majors race to award prize money for the top non-binary finishers.
In a press release, the NYRR announced that the marathon had become the first sporting event declared a “Safe Space” by the Stonewall Inn in recognition of its inclusivity efforts for the LGBTQ+ community. The organization also said it was creating a number of other diversity initiatives including offering a course-record bonus for the professional wheelchair division, a relaunch of their program offering race-fee assistance to “under-resourced runners” from the local area, and a private tent for nursing mothers near the starting line.
“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,” Kerin Hempel, the NYRR Runners CEO, said in a press release.
The top runners of the women’s and men’s categories received $100,000, while the wheelchair champions receive $25,000. In contrast, the top prize for nonbinary runners is $5,000. Because the Abbott World Marathon Majors does not offer monetary prizes to nonbinary athletes, the NYRR will be paying the athletes out of its own funds.
Speaking with Runner’s World, fourth-place runner Nick Dill reflected on the importance of the moment, prize money aside. “I’ve felt excluded from sports my entire life. To show up on race day and be recognized for who you are — and to hear people cheering for who you are — is really special. It makes me really emotional.”