Runners in a road race
Access & Inclusion

200 Inclusive Road Races to Add to Your LGBTQ Travel Bucket List 

While nine states passed laws banning trans youth from participating in team sports this year, adult sports are doubling down on LGBTQI inclusion.

To date, there are over 200 road races – including some of the most competitive marathons – that allow nonbinary runners.

Read on for a list of US and international marathons that accept nonbinary runners to add to your LGBTQ travel plans, plus some context on why inclusion of nonbinary athletes is so important.

These Marathons Accept Nonbinary Runners

I’m not a runner, but my father and brother have both run the Boston Marathon. Growing up outside Boston, the famous event was always something I took a little local pride in.

It’s exciting to see so many races, including the Boston Marathon, open up to gender expensive athletes.

Enforcing binary gender identification as a rite of participation means forcing many LGBTQ people to check a box they do not feel represents them just to be allowed to participate. It means experiencing dissonance between your lived and embodied experience and an M or F marker.

But things are changing for non-binary people in the US. Soon, there will be a third gender option on passports. Countries including Bangladesh, Canada, Iceland, Nepal and Pakistan already allow people to choose X as their gender marker.

And now, these 200 competitive races allow runners to participate without using binary identification as a barrier to entry:

  • Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon
  • Flagstaff Marathon
  • Colorado Springs Marathon
  • Hartford Marathon
  • Philadelphia Marathon
  • Pittsburgh Marathon
  • Miami Marathon
  • Brooklyn Marathon & Half Marathon
  • New York City Marathon
  • Boston Marathon
  • Ocean State Rhode Races
  • Newport Rhode Races
  • London Marathon
  • Maine Marathon
  • Ann Arbor Marathon
  • Berlin Marathon
  • Chicago Marathon
  • Kalamazoo Marathon
  • San Francisco Marathon
  • Portland Marathon
  • Fall Prarire Fire Marathon (Wichita, KS)
  • Grandma’s Marathon (Duluth, MN)
  • Twin Cities Marathon
  • Salt Lake City Marathon
  • Seattle Marathon
  • Missoula Marathon
  • Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon
  • Conquer the Canyon Marathon (Ansonia, PA)
  • Run for the Elk Marathon (Emporium, PA)
  • Pocono Mountain Marathon Race Festival
  • James River Canoe Marathon (Buchanan, VA)
  • Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon (Charlottesville, VA)
  • Richmond Marathon (Richmond, VA)
  • Shamrock Marathon (Virginia Beach, VA)
  • Cheyenne Marathon (Cheyenne, WY)
  • Northeast Kingdom Marathon (Isand Pond, VT)
  • Vermont City Marathon (Burlington, VT)

Here’s a full database of races that accept nonbinary runners, from marathons and epic trail runs to 5Ks, to bookmark for your LGBTQ travel planning.

Behind Running’s Embrace of Nonbinary Runners

Ryan Callahan, co-race director for the Philadelphia Distance Run, told Runner’s World that, while there was support for nonbinary inclusion among the running community, “most race directors and organizers just throw their hands up and say, ‘it’s too complicated.’”

So how did running change its mind? And what does the inclusion of general expansive athletes mean in a sport where age and gender race times have historically been used to determine who qualifies for the most competitive races?

The running community has long supported transgender runners, allowing them to register as the gender they identify with. But until recently, registration forms still used only male and female gender markers.

With running, the move for inclusion came from nonbinary athletes who have asked race organizers to recognize them.

Runners say it’s dysphoric to be asked to identify as male or female for the sake of a race. Some nonbinary athletes say they feel like an imposter, or out of place among other participants. Even when they win, the award can be invalidating.

Black person with cropped hair wearing sports clothes, relaxing on the grass.

For marathons that want to be inclusive, expanding gender options at registration is the easy part. Racers have to qualify using times, which are tethered to age and gender categories.

Since nonbinary inclusion is new, races don’t have data on entry times for nonbinary runners. For 2023, the Boston Marathon is suggesting runners use the women’s qualifying times which is more inclusive. In future years, nonbinary runners may get their own qualifying times based on the data.

It’s encouraging to see running find ways to include nonbinary athletes at times when other adult sports like swimming are doubling down on the gender binary to exclude athletes who fall outside of it, and when youth sports are clinging to gender essentialist arguments to exclude trans kids.

Based on their experience lobbying for nonbinary inclusion in races, nonbinary runner Jake Fedorowski has put together a guide for race organizers who want to add a nonbinary category.

Ultimately, this is only the beginning of nonbinary inclusion in sports. There’s a long ways to go in terms of standardizing entrance times, performing outreach to athletes, and making the culture changes to support inclusion. For nonbinary athletes, these changes are welcome and more is needed.

Still, it’s nice to celebrate some good news on the DEI front of LGBTQ travel and sports. If you’ve got a race I should add to this list, or other LGBTQ affirming sports news to report, comment below and I’ll update this post!

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