A non-binary identity option to be added to Tokyo Marathon applications

Organisers for the Tokyo Marathon are adding a non-binary identity option to applications which runners can use for the 2025 event.

Athletes will be able to choose from male, female, and the new non-binary option as they register for next year’s race, which is expected to host around 38,000 runners.

The decision follows in the footsteps of other inclusive races, including the London Marathon, and the New York City Marathon, making the city the last of the six World Major Marathons to do so.

“We aim to create a more inclusive society through Tokyo Marathon 2025, and will promote sustainability efforts aimed at creating a warm and friendly event that takes into consideration people with disabilities and LGBTQ+ (sexual minorities) in particular,” the Tokyo Marathon Foundation said in a statement on 24 June after a meeting.

“Finally, Tokyo is catching up,” said Yuka Kanno, a professor of gender and sexuality studies at Doshisha University in Kyoto. “A non-binary category is overdue and yet welcome news.”

The organiser has been receiving advice from Pride House Tokyo since 2019 to promote inclusivity in sports and will provide changing rooms and non-gender-specific toilets which are available to all.

The marathon also allows entry on a trial basis of a “duo team” for those with disabilities, like cerebral palsy or other conditions which make it difficult for a runner to compete on their own.

“Duo Teams are teams of two runners where one runner pushes a safe, customized special buggy carrying arider who has a permanent physical disability and cannot walk or run,” the statement read.

Runners for the general entry category can register from 16 to 30 August, with participants being announced on 20 September via lottery results. The Tokyo Marathon 2025 is set to be held in the city on 2 March.

The news comes after a court in Japan ruled in 2023 that not allowing same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

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