Great North Run introduces non-binary category for runners who don't identify as male or female

Runners taking part in this year's Great North Run will be able to enter as "non-binary" rather than just male or female after changes made by the organisers.

Picture by PA
Picture by PA

Sports events have historically had male and female categories, but have come under pressure in recent to include a non-binary category for those with different gender identities.

Now organisers of the Great North Run are among the first of the large-scale running events to create a non-binary category.

Great North Run form

Those wishing to take part in the Great North Run must first register for an account if they haven't already. Here they must tick "male" or "female" - though its explained this will change.

When it comes to entering the event itself, entrants are asked if they wish to be included in the non-binary gender category for the event.

An explainer on the online form reads: "To create an account, you need to choose either male or female at this stage. If you identify as Non Binary you will be able to tell us later on in the online entry form.

"This is a temporary approach while we update out entry system and we thank you for your patience while we make the necessary changes."

Great North Run form

The change comes after an increase in calls for organisations to recognise people who do not identify as a "man" or a "woman".

Parkrun, organisers of the hundreds of free 5k Saturday morning runs around the country, announced in the summer it would introduce a more "inclusive" registration system in face of demands for change.

LGBT+ rights campaigner Mia Harris said at the time "for non-binary people, having your gender recognised, and not being forced to lie by saying that you are a man or woman, makes a big difference.”

Campaign organisation Stonewall defines non-binary as an "umbrella term for people whose gender identity doesn’t sit comfortably with ‘man’ or ‘woman’". Non-binary identities are varied and can include people who identify with some aspects of binary identities, while others reject them entirely."

Responding to the news Great North Run organisers have introduced a non-binary category, a Stonewall spokesperson said: "Updating registration systems to be inclusive of all gender identities is a positive step to help trans and non-binary people feel accepted and valued."

The entry ballot for the Great North Run closes today.