As part of its ongoing commitment to increasing inclusivity and representation in the running community, New York Road Runners (NYRR) has announced expanded diversity and inclusion efforts.
With a year-round priority of integrating diversity, equity, inclusion, and social responsibility into all its operations, NYRR is continuing to seek ways to better serve its many running communities. The new initiatives will be highlighted at this year’s TCS New York City Marathon.
“We are so proud that the TCS New York City Marathon attracts such a diverse and global community of runners, and we are deeply focused on ensuring all of our athletes feel welcome and included at NYRR,” said Kerin Hempel, Chief Executive Officer, NYRR.
The organization has continued to take measurable steps to increase diversity and accessibility into its year-round efforts.
“These new initiatives demonstrate our deep commitment to centering and operationalizing equity in everything we do,” said Erica Edwards-O’Neal, Senior VP of Culture, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at NYRR.
Here are the highlights:
The Stonewall Inn’s Safe Space Initiative
To recognize NYRR’s inclusion efforts among the LGBTQ+ community, the TCS New York City Marathon has been named a Safe Space by the historic Stonewall Inn.
The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative (SIGBI) is the charitable arm of the historic Stonewall Inn, with aim to spread its legacy to places, faces, and spaces. The Stonewall Inn is the original safe space for the LGBTQ+ community. The SIGBI developed a certification to identify Safe Spaces for LBGTQ+ members of the community. The extensive process includes instituting policies and standards to ensure an organization is serving LGBTQ+ staff and customers, and advocating for equality. The TCS New York City Marathon will be the first sporting event declared a Safe Space.
For the first-time at the TCS New York City Marathon or any Abbott World Marathon Majors race, prize money will be awarded to non-binary runners. In June 2021, NYRR became an industry leader when it launched a non-binary gender identification and category. To further its efforts, NYRR rolled out non-binary time qualifying standards, non-binary category and team awards, club point series, and prize money throughout its NYRR races in 2022. At this year’s marathon, prize money for non-binary runners will be given for the first through fifth places.
Mothers at the Marathon
To further support nursing mothers, NYRR is working with &Mother to elevate the lactation experience for marathon runners and remove the barrier to allow full participation and success for mothers in sports. NYRR is expanding its offerings and piloting some new processes for this year’s marathon. A new dedicated and private tent at the start area in Fort Wadsworth will be provided for nursing mothers. As in previous years, NYRR will transport nursing pumps from the start to finish area for runners.
Elevating Historically Underrepresented Voices and Continued Education
NYRR launched a Contributors Circle earlier this year. Through this diverse group of runners we aim to empower and serve the holistic running experience. Their contributions will be shared through various mediums throughout the year.
Additionally, NYRR has been working year-round while learning, growing, driving awareness, and inspiring advocacy with partners and local organizations including Black Gotham Experience, Designing The We, Catalyst, Seramount, Harlem Run, The Management Center, NY Black MBA, The Perception Institute, Running Industry Diversity Coalition, and new hire implicit bias trainings with The Verna Myers Company.
Athletes with Disabilities
NYRR has a long history of inclusion of athletes with disabilities (AWDs) in our races and programs. The AWD program for the marathon includes wheelchair participants, handcycle participants, runners who have a physical, intellectual, or vision impairment (including runners who require a guide), runners who use prostheses or running blades, and duo teams.
NYRR continues to prioritize efforts around accessibility, including the hiring of a dedicated full-time Director of Accessibility, and ensuring programs and communication platforms are accessible to all, including providing ASL services.
Since 2000, the TCS New York City Marathon has included a professional wheelchair division, drawing the sport’s top athletes from across the world. This year, the course-record bonus for the professional wheelchair division will be raised to $50,000, making the wheelchair division bonus equal to the open division bonus.
Race Free Program
NYRR relaunched and extended its Race Free program, an initiative that provides race-fee assistance to under-resourced runners in our local community. This program provides 100 free race entries for every NYRR race year-round, including the TCS New York City Marathon.
In order to live its organizational values, NYRR is applying a DEIS lens to all of its operations, including being intentional about vendor selection, with a priority on local women and minority owned businesses across all categories, including catering, suppliers, logistics partners, etc.
About New York Road Runners (NYRR)
NYRR’s mission is to help and inspire people through running. Since 1958, New York Road Runners has grown from a local running club to the world’s premier community running organization. NYRR’s commitment to New York City’s five boroughs features races, virtual races, community events, free youth running initiatives and school programs, the NYRR RUNCENTER featuring the New Balance Run Hub, and training resources that provide hundreds of thousands of people each year with the motivation, know-how, and opportunity to Run for Life. NYRR’s premier event is the TCS New York City Marathon. Held annually on the first Sunday in November, the race features a wide population of runners, from the world’s top professional athletes to a vast range of competitive, recreational, and charity runners. To learn more, visit www.nyrr.org.