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    Nonbinary Runner Cal Calamia on Historic Wins at SF Marathon and Bay to Breakers

    Nonbinary Runner Cal Calamia on Historic Wins at SF Marathon and Bay to Breakers On May 15, 2022, Cal Calamia made history by becoming the top nonbinary finisher of the Bay to Breakers. This year marked the first time that organizers of the iconic San Francisco race issued awards in the nonbinary division. On July 24, Calamia made history yet again by becoming the nonbinary+ division winner of the San Francisco Marathon. The division, as for the Bay to Breakers, was new this year for the marathon, which has a full route of 26.2 miles.

    “Yesterday was a really fun and historic day!” Calamia told the San Francisco Bay Times just hours after the recent win. “I’m so proud to have been able to work with the marathon on the nonbinary+ division logistics, as well as to be the inaugural winner of the category. It’s so important for running events to prioritize input from the local community and the athletes that will be participating in the event. The San Francisco Marathon is no joke! The hills were pretty draining, but the views and experience of the city made the strain well worth it. It has been three years or so since I last ran a marathon, and 3:00:00 was a personal record for me by over 21 minutes.”

    Creating Space for Athletes Outside of Traditional Categories

    Over just the past year, certain marathons and other footraces around the U.S. added new award categories for nonbinary runners in order to create space for athletes outside of the traditional men’s and women’s divisions. The Bay Area did not at first embrace the trend, such that Calamia originally was informed that the Bay to Breakers would not have separate awards for nonbinary runners.

    Calamia and others, however, made their case for having the new division. As Calamia—who was assigned female at birth and began to transition after moving to San Francisco in 2018—told Sarah Ravani of the San Francisco Chronicle in May: “When the gender categories are being male and female, they are sex-determined. Neither female nor male accurately describes me since I take testosterone, but don’t have the same anatomy as someone assigned male at birth. When it comes to things like qualifying times, for example, where do I fit into this?”

    The new division, therefore, opens up an inviting space for what the San Francisco Marathon refers to as “gender-
    expansive runners” like Calamia.

    Lauri Abrahamsen, Director of Operations for Jumping Fences Inc., the events services company that organizes the marathon, told the San Francisco Bay Times: “San Francisco is known for embracing diversity and uniqueness. The San Francisco Marathon is proud to carry on this tradition by adding the nonbinary+ option to our registration and allowing folks to be who they are and, most of all, be who they are while enjoying something they love—running!”

    She added, “Running is a great equalizer; the community in and of itself welcomes all and celebrates together in everyone’s accomplishments. Recognizing that we have a community of nonbinary runners and awarding them, just as we do our male and female winners, is a step in the right direction, a small step but a giant one at the same time. Our hope is other races, and endurance events, follow suit and offer this as well.”

    Challenges Beyond Race Divisions

    The San Francisco Marathon is one of the most challenging races in the world. While the first half of the course goes along the waterfront with its picturesque bay and bridge views, the course is notoriously hilly in other sections. Runners often have to brave thick fog for much if not all of the race. And it begins very early at 5:30 am, long before many of us have even stumbled out of bed for the first cup of coffee. “I had actually planned to run the half marathon, but changed my registration about a week prior to the race out of excitement around the new category,” Calamia said. “Typically, I use about three months to train for a marathon, building up mileage on every Sunday long run until I hit 20–22 miles, and then tapering back down prior to the race. I recently recovered from a full ACL tear and knee surgery, and only began training about a month and a half prior to this race. I was happy with my performance, but am expecting to shave off some time in upcoming marathons!”

    An Even Bigger Win Calamia’s successes are many. A self-described bilingual author, educator, and activist in addition to runner, Calamia is a full-time student, public high school health teacher, and the author of a poetry book. Calamia also coaches running with Perform ( and at a middle school, and does inclusivity consulting.

    Additionally, Calamia is the Co-Founder of the nonprofit 2 Hot 4 Hoodies ( ) that supports gender-expansive youth by providing them with care and community. Calamia explained, “We have historically offered chest binders free of charge through a giveaway process and are going to expand in the coming months to also offer support groups and conversations for trans folks, families of trans folks, and organizations. The work I do with 2 Hot 4 Hoodies is separate from running, of course, but all ties back to the same goal—to validate and affirm the existence of people beyond the gender binary, and to seek parallel community support. 2H4H depends on donations and clothing purchases to keep moving forward!”

    In terms of the recent groundbreaking marathon victory, Calamia said: “The biggest win for me is definitely the increased visibility of trans and non-binary athletes, thanks to the San Francisco Marathon and those of us that showed up to represent the new category. I’d love to offer acknowledgement to all trans and nonbinary folks that show up every day to work, to school, and to the world that does not always value us. I am also grateful to have the support of organizations, friends and family, and the Janji Field Team (, in not only working to achieve more as an athlete, but also as a community member.”

    To learn more about Cal Calamia, visit

    Published on July 28, 2022