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Thousands of steps backwards

Why is there a “non-binary” category in the London Marathon?

This Sunday, for the first time in the London Marathon’s history, three categories will cross the finish line: men, women and a special group for self-absorbed whingers who identify as “non-binary”. The new division was added after a consultation last year. Tellingly, sexed categories have been retained for the Elite, Championship and Good For Age races.

Brasher seems to have forgotten that biology doesn’t care about gender feelings

Race director Hugh Brasher proudly trilled that the non-binary option was “a significant step forward” and that whilst there was “much more to be done” the change showed that the race “is for everyone”. The London Marathon has always been open to people with the requisite talent and determination, irrespective of identity.

Brasher seems to have forgotten that biology doesn’t care about gender feelings. Ultimately, no matter how hard he might train and strain, a man will never be able to push a baby out of his willy. On the flip side, on average men run around ten per cent faster than women. 

Olympian Mara Yamauchi is a former elite marathon runner who believes “gender identity ideology turns sport into a farce, and it is nearly always women and girls who suffer”.

“How you identify is irrelevant in sport,” Yamauchi explains. 

What matters is your body and your sex — male or female … Sports organisations can fully welcome and include trans and non-binary people whilst robustly asserting and defending the primacy of biological sex, not gender ideology, as the parameter on which competition categories must be based.

With the exception of Tokyo, today all members of the World Marathon Majors, — the club of the world’s most prestigious marathons — have introduced what is in reality a mixed sex division to accommodate this niche identity. The results have been predictable.

On Monday, the winner of the non-binary category in Boston was a man called Kae Ravichandran. Ravichandran seems to have suffered something of an identity crisis; since July 2022 he has competed in the men’s, women’s and non-binary categories.

Second place at Boston was taken by female Cal Calamia, a runner who has openly stated, “I take testosterone. The performance enhancing hormone is banned in and out of competition under the World Anti-Doping Agency Code, to which the US is a signatory. According to publicly available information, the next five finishers appeared to be male.

The new “inclusive” category has also allowed some male competitors to sprint up the rankings. Notably, Zackary Harris came 1,917th racing in the men’s division in the New York City Marathon (NYCM) 2019 (with a time of 3:05:36), before coming second in the non-binary division in NYCM 2022 (with a time of 3:09:41) and swaggering off with $4,000 in prize money.

Jake Fedorowski is the leading “bepenised, non-birthing person” responsible for promoting non-binary nonsense in marathons. This distinctly average male runner appears to have earned his place in the Boston Marathon, not by running the 3-hour qualifying time for male runners of his age, but by beating the non-binary qualifying time of 3 hours 30 (which is set at the same time as the women’s).

Fedorowski has published a “Guide to non-binary inclusion in running”. The document opens with the surprising claim that “Non-binary individuals have always existed, despite the lack of recognition of them in history. 

Within living history, women were excluded from the marathon

The guide goes on to confidently assert that “gender is fluid” before exhorting the reader to educate themselves about “evolving terminology”. A list of petulant demands include offering equal prize money for men, women and non-binary runners and not making any assumptions about the identity of competitors based on their appearance. Any suggestion that mediocre men might “take advantage of the system” for prize money and prestige is airily brushed away. “This is not a valid argument, as there is no evidence to date of this happening, and it should not be used to deny non-binary participants their much-needed visibility,” writes Fedorowski. 

Clearly, he is either wilfully blind or simply unconcerned about the rights of female runners. The creation of a non-binary category goes against the most basic rules of fair competition, effectively offering males two categories in which they can enjoy fair competition, whilst females have only one.

It’s important to remember that within living history, women were excluded from the marathon. When Katherine Switzer became the first woman to officially enter the Boston marathon in 1967, race director Jock Semple lunged toward her to try and push her out from the group of men she was running alongside. 

The reasons given for the prohibition of female competitors were ridiculous. Switzer recalled in an interview with Sky Sports News that there was a misconception that women runners “were going to get big legs, grow hair on your chest, your uterus was going to fall out”.

It took years for such sexist superstitions to be exposed as nonsense. Yet thanks to the actions of activists like Fedorowski and the credulity of box-ticking race organisers, women runners are once more being pushed to the side. Men are the only winners in the race for “non-binary” inclusivity.

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