This nonbinary marathoner wants to revolutionize the running industry

Jake Federowski
Photo: Screenshot

Nonbinary marathon runner Jake Federowski wants more LGBTQ+ people to join the sport. After drafting a guide to nonbinary inclusion for running organizations, they have now launched the Queer Running Society (QRS), which its website says “elevates the queer experience in the running industry.”

The goal of the organization is to both foster community among queer runners as well as advocate for more queer representation and safe spaces.

“We realized we had an opportunity to connect the queer running communities and use our collective voice to push for more systemic change,” Fedorowski told Outsports. “The ultimate goal is for the running industry to affirm all gender and sexually diverse individuals. Queer folks, especially the trans and nonbinary community, should be able to participate and thrive as their authentic selves, and QRS is here to help make that a reality.”

As part of its launch, QRS released a report called, The Ignored 20%: a Queer State of the Running Industry. The report cites research that says 20% of Gen Z adults identify as queer. It acknowledged that while there has been a “queer running boom” in recent years, there has also been a significant decline in runners under 30.

“The ultimate goal is a running industry that affirms all gender and sexually diverse individuals,” the report concludes, adding that QRS focuses on all kinds of running, including road, trail, ultra, and track & field.

The report also mentions the urgent need for advocacy for trans inclusion as Republicans across the country attempt to pass hundreds of anti-trans laws – including sports bans.

“Right now, representation is crucial,” Federowski said in a press release. “Not only does it push back against the intensifying anti-queer rhetoric, legislation, and policies, it shows the next generation that the queer running community has every right to participate as their authentic selves.”

In addition to being executive director of QRS and running their own races, Federowski is also the founder of Run Beyond the Binary, which serves to build community and advocate specifically for nonbinary inclusion in running.

According to Federowski’s guide, over 200 running events, including the New York City Marathon, have already added a nonbinary category.

“By establishing a nonbinary division, you’re creating a space for an entire group of individuals to be seen,” Federowski wrote. “This representation is monumental and entirely necessary… We need to continue listening to, learning from, and advocating for those whose voices are continually silenced.”

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