Boston becomes latest major marathon to debut nonbinary category

The Chicago Marathon added a nonbinary division in the fall. So has the London Marathon, which is Sunday.

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Cal Calamia, shown running last year’s Chicago Marathon, was part of the Boston Marathon’s first nonbinary category.

Cal Calamia, shown running last year’s Chicago Marathon, was part of the Boston Marathon’s first nonbinary category.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

BOSTON — Cal Calamia waited extra long to run the Boston Marathon. Being able to enter as a nonbinary athlete made it worth the delay.

“To be able to do it in this way, in this category, makes it so much more special,” said Calamia, who had hoped to run in 2020, when the race was canceled because of COVID-19, and in 2021, when Calamia was sidelined by a soccer injury. “Knowing how much work has gone into getting this category — in a way, that was already a win.”

Calamia, 26, of San Francisco, advocated for the new division and ran with a transgender flag patch on their singlet. Twenty-seven runners registered as nonbinary; Calamia was second to Kae Ravichandran of Vermont, who finished in 02:38:57.

Spectators who recognized Calamia from pre-race news coverage shouted encouragement.

“All over the place,” they said. “I heard people shouting my name and I didn’t even know who they were.”

The next goal, Calamia said: prize money for the nonbinary division. The men’s and women’s winners — Evans Chebet and Hellen Obiri — received $150,000 apiece; wheelchair, masters and para divisions also receive payouts.

“It doesn’t have to be, like, Evans Chebet money,” they said.

The Chicago Marathon added a nonbinary division in the fall. So has the London Marathon, which is Sunday.

“I just hope it grows,” Calamia said. “We’re here. Trans people are here. We’re not going anywhere. I hope other races continue to add this category.”

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