Introducing a Third Category of sports event entry

31 Jul, 2018 09:05 By: Matt Trevett


Introducing a Third Category of sports event entry

Recently Eventrac has been asked by some organisers to extend their entry platform to give a “gender neutral” tick box option. We have been happy to help. These requests have  prompted us to look into this a little deeper into this and understand the various terminology that can be used and we thought we would share this on with our organisers so you have some information to hand in case this is something you are considering.

There is a lot of guidance on the internet about this subject. Scottish Athletics have a lot of information on their website which is helpful. Since launching a pilot programme last year to introduce a third category of entry they state they have issued several licenses for events with a non binary category since June 2017. They have a very good pdf that can be downloaded that gives you lots of practical advice. UK Athletics also have been formulating plans to introduce some guidance, however its harder to find on their website but they may also be piloting this. Their 371 page rule book on organising events does state in the Race Challenges section: “Competition Providers promoting road races may offer a third non binary gender option within their events. Such an approach will be piloted from 2018. For ranking purposes, only Male and Female gender categories will be recognised”


What is meant by Non Binary?

A definition shows that some people simply cannot define their gender identity in traditional binary terms “man or woman” and they feel differently about themselves as in between the categories of either male or female, permanently or some of the time. ‘Non-binary’ is the umbrella term which is being used to cover all outside the ‘male’ and ‘female’ categories.


What does the race organiser have to consider?

If you have decided to introduce an additional category of entry then that’s great but its not just about the participant and the entry process  - it goes a little further to the on the day logistics too so really do think this through and seek out advice before introducing this category.  If you are not going to provide any gender neutral facilities such as portaloos, then you should make this clear in your participant information. If you do provide facilities for the mobility impaired then you could always rename these to make them available for gender neutral access which could be a simple solution!


How do you adapt the Entry form on the website?

You can request an additional tick box and Eventrac will happily add this to your event page. You will need to decide what terminology you want to use here and we will be guided by you ie “Gender Neutral”, “Non-Binary” in addition to the usual male and female categories ie cis-gender (which is cited in the Stonewall glossary of terms this is defined as “someone whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth”)   


What do you put on Emails?

When writing or emailing your participants, if you adopt a friendly or formal form or generic form of address so you could consider saying  Dear participant or Dear runner rather than Sir/Madam. 


How to address Entry Packs?

If you post out entry packs and use a title for the participant ie Mr, Mrs, Ms then we’ve seen a suggestion Mx which can be used for anyone who identifies themselves as being non binary. Probably just dropping the title altogether keeps it simple!


How will this affect prize winners?

You probably have your cup or trophy planned for the winning male and female, so you may want to introduce a prize for your third category. At the moment any third category does not count towards any rankings therefore it is advisable to put something out in advance as a statement on your events page so that people are aware of this.


The wider debate

We hear it all the time – sport breaks down barriers. Sport encourages us all to be the best we can be and then strive to be even better. Whatever creed, colour, ability, age or gender, there is opportunity to take part and compete on an even keel. Equal opportunity is at the very heart of sport. We are sure we will be seeing more and more articles, publications, press reports, TV and radio debates about how the sporting arena, accommodate this new category. In the meantime we are here to help and if you have decided to introduce an extra category in your events then just let us know.


If you want any assistance with event listing or have any questions regarding your events, then contact






IMPORTANT NOTE:  These links above are added as a guide to help our organisers make informed choices. The content of articles and links to third party websites is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.

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