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Non-binary athletes to compete in own Boston Marathon division for first time

Non-binary athletes to compete in own Boston Marathon division for first time
Non-binary athletes to compete in own Boston Marathon division for first time 02:12

BOSTON -- For the first time in Boston Marathon history, transgender and non-binary runners will have their own category to compete in. The changes started with a former collegiate runner named Cal Calamia.

He ran on the women's track team at St. Louis University, but he struggled with his gender identity. He stepped away from running and moved to California to teach. That's where he began a medical gender transition.

"I went all the way through high school and most of college, then things got tricky in college. I was grappling with something about my own identity, and I was on the women's team," said Calamia. "My transness showed up in ways like having the pervasive thought that I wish that I could be a boy and felt unfair that I had to be a girl."

In California, Calamia began learning more about the transitioning process, and what it would take.

"I saw other trans people, and people who transitioned, and [I wanted to] be happy and be myself, and it's really true. It's happier to be myself," explained Calamia.

Cal Calamia
Cal Calamia CBS Boston

The struggle came when Calamia returned to running after college. He wanted to run in marathons, but his transition process complicated the entry process.

"It took me a while to repair my relationship with running because I didn't have spaces where I could say, 'Hey I am non-binary? Can I run still?' Every time I went to register, they were like, 'You are either a man or a woman?' I was like, 'What are you asking, because I have in some ways components of both of these things?' I don't know what I'm supposed to choose," said Calamia.

He first began working with the San Francisco Marathon to try to create a category for transgender and non-binary runners. He then reached out to the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) in July of 2022 to see if the category could be added to the Boston Marathon. To his surprise, the BAA responded quickly, and will have the category this year.

"The category is here, the qualifying standards are here, and there will be 27 of us running on Monday," said Calamia. "I hope that opens up more space for other people to be like, 'I want to do that.'"

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