Non-binary marathon runner celebrates making history in New York race

Top-placing runners in the New York City Marathon’s non-binary division have been awarded prize money for the first time.

Local resident Jacob Caswell won $5,000 for their first-place finish in the category, with a time of two hours, 45 minutes and 12 seconds at the 6 November event.

They were the 172nd person to complete the marathon, among 47,839 finishers.

”None of this would be possible without so many people putting in amazing work so that I and all future runners have a more inclusive space to run in,” the 25-year-old wrote on Instagram.

Caswell told local media outlet W42ST they felt like all their training and hard work “paid off”.

“To be the second-ever non-binary winner felt really good,” they said.

Earlier in the year, Caswell was the first non-binary winner of the Brooklyn Marathon, which was also their first full marathon.

Caswell’s Front Runners New York running club team mates Zackary Harris and Justin Solle placed third and fourth, walking away with $3,000 and $2,000 respectively.

Harris won the division’s inaugural event in 2021 – before prize money was introduced.

Caswell said having the support of their LGBTQ+ running club was a meaningful part of the day.

“When you see people that look like you, and people that have the same values as you, and when you see them cheering for you on the sidelines, or in the race or at the finish line — it demonstrates the importance of community and belonging in the sport,” they said.

Kenyan runner Evans Chebet was the first person to cross the finish line overall with a time of two hours, eight minutes and 41 seconds.

Sharon Lokedi, also representing Kenya, was the first woman to cross the line – in 19th position among all runners.

Since the non-binary division was introduced at the New York City Marathon last year, four (Berlin, Chicago, Boston, and London) more of the world’s six major marathons followed suit.

Tokyo is the only marathon that has not announced one.

The London Marathon non-binary division will be contested for the first time in 2023.

However, the three categories operating under World Athletics rules – elite runners, and those in the “championship” and “good for age” categories – will not be able to register as non-binary.