Bay to Breakers will give prizes to non-binary runners

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Non-binary runners competing in the Bay to Breakers race on Sunday will now have a chance to win a prize in their genre category as the event returns for the first time since the pandemic.

“I’m feeling very excited, very excited, this is a big, big deal,” said Cal Calamia, who will compete as a non-binary runner. He asked organizers to offer prizes for his gender category after learning for the first time in October that they didn’t have any planned, even though he could register as non-binary.

“While big oversight was not on our radar previously, we fully support and are happy to see the quick fix that the Bay to Breakers team has made and committed to upholding by creating a prize category for non-binary runners,” Vice President from Zappos.com and Director of Customer Experience Stacey Wagner in a statement. “It was Bay to Breakers’ celebration of San Francisco’s inclusive personality that aligned with the spirit of our brand and initially encouraged our sponsorship. We are grateful to see them uphold these values ​​and do right for them and the community.”

Zappos.com is the main sponsor of the race. The CEO of Capstone Event Group, which runs the event, told SF Gate that the lack of prizes in the non-binary category was an oversight.

Calamia emailed the organizers and started a campaign to get more people into the effort to add awards for another genre category. A lifelong runner, Calamia started in fifth grade and continued to compete in high school and college. After moving to the Bay Area, he started running marathons. This will be your first time racing in Bay to Breakers.

“It makes a lot of sense, neither male nor female can accurately describe me, so being able to choose non-binary is amazing,” explained Calamia.

His partner, Ariel Robbins, saw him work hard not only to train for the event, but also to publicize the need to change the prize plan for this year’s race. She works with him year-round running a non-profit organization that helps young people receive transgender-affirming care, such as chest folders.

“He’s like, I’m going to practice this hill and do this and that and just work really, really hard,” Robbins said. “How is this happening in San Francisco in 2022, like hello? What’s going on?”

On the weekend of the race, Calamia knew that there would be awards in his category, increasing the expectation of competing on Sunday. Calamia said it only made sense for an event in San Francisco to reflect the inclusive spirit he sees as a resident. Until race organizers made the change, he thought it was insulating for non-binary runners.

“I love living here in the Bay and one of the reasons I love living here is because we’re at the forefront of so many social justice movements,” he said.

While Calamia considers non-binary an umbrella term for those who feel they are beyond one gender, he also identifies as transmale. He explains that the term underlines the transition he made to masculine. He hopes the progress made with Bay to Breakers is just the beginning of a growing trend of more events to include more gender identities in their categories.

“They’ll see how we’re doing things and they can use that as a model and that opens up a bigger national – and eventually international – conversation about the fact that non-binary and trans people exist.”

The experience highlights the ongoing need for more understanding locally and around the world.

“If you look at me, I’m a person, I’m a runner, I’m a teacher, I’m a poet, I’m so many other things besides my gender,” Calamia said.

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