At this year’s New York Marathon, the largest number of nonbinary runners in the history of the race competed for the top prize. The marathon also made history for being the first World Major Marathon to award prize money to a nonbinary athlete.
‘I Have To Go Prove That We Belong,’ Says One Racer
45 nonbinary runners signed up to compete. Justin Solle, who finished in third place, spoke about the importance of seeing nonbinary competitors in the race before the New York Marathon.
“I have to go prove that we belong,” they explained to The 19th News. “I have to run a fast time to show that we’re just as good and deserve to be acknowledged for what we’re doing. But we shouldn’t have to feel that. We should be able to just go out and run a fantastic race.”
Jake Caswell Takes Home Top Prize
New York City native Jake Caswell crossed the finish line first, taking home $5,000 in prize money. The marathon handed out prize money to the top five runners in the category, decreasing the amount by $1,000 as they went down the list.
This is a major step in the world of nonbinary sports, but there is still a long way to go. Currently, World Marathon Majors’ governing body doesn’t pay for cash prizes for nonbinary competitors. New York Road Runners provided the prize money for nonbinary runners out of their won pockets.
For comparison, male and female winners of the Open Division take home $100,000 each. The male and female winners of the USA Division get $25,000, as do the male and female winners of the Professional Wheelchair Division. Competitors can also score bonus money if they break any course records.
Caswell: ‘I Try To Stop Caring What Other People Think’
Caswell might have taken home the top prize, but they aren’t planning on continuing to compete. Instead, they will take some time off and stop planning their life around running in marathons.
They also said that they don’t listen to any critics, and just try to concentrate on the race. “I try to stop caring what other people think and just go on and run it, and whatever happens, happens,” Caswell shared.
The large group of nonbinary runners that competed in the New York Marathon shows how far the sports world has come in terms of diversity. However, the lower prize money for nonbinary people shows how much work there still is to do.