Gender and the Hot Chocolate Run

Safe Passage’s services and programs are available to people of all gender identities. Providing services for LGBQ, transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming survivors is a long-standing priority at Safe Passage.

Running events traditionally subscribe to the gender binary, requiring that participants register under “male” or “female” categories. As the organizer of one of the largest running events in western Massachusetts, Safe Passage hopes to be a leader in making races more inclusive of all gender identities.

You might ask why we collect gender information from participants at all. Why don’t we make the Hot Chocolate Run entirely gender-neutral?

For our 5k Road Race, we award prizes to athletes competing in three divisions: “women”, “men”, and “non-binary/agender/other gender”. We choose to split the road race into gendered divisions as a way to recognize runners who may otherwise be excluded. A gender-neutral event would likely award top prizes only to cisgender men, who hold institutional advantages over other athletes. It's important to us to be gender inclusive, and it’s important to us to elevate women and nonbinary athletes.

Registration form: We collect gender information from our participants only so that we may offer age and gender based results in the 5K Road Race. Participants may choose among these options:

  • Women
  • Men
  • Non-binary/agender/other gender
  • Prefer not to answer

    Race Results: 

    • Whether you participate in the 5k Road Race, the 5k Fun Run, or the 3K Walk, your chip time will be included in race results.
    • 5k Road Race:  Overall top ranking women, men and non-binary competitors are eligible for multiple prizes. Participants who check “women”, “men”, or “Non-binary/agender/other gender” will have their race results ranked against others in the same division. Safe Passage welcomes cisgender and transgender people in all divisions. We award prizes to the top 3 women, top 3 men, top 3 non-binary finishers in the 5k Road Race. We also award prizes to the top woman, man, and nonbinary competitor in each age bracket of the 5k Road Race. Overall top ranking men, women and nonbinary competitors are eligible for multiple prizes. Participants who check “prefer not to answer” will not be ranked by gender.
    • 5k Fun Run and 3k Walk: Participants will not be ranked. We ask all participants to select a gender division so that they have the option to switch to the 5k road race  without notifying event staff. 

    We want to hear from you! If you have feedback or ideas about how we can do better, please email us at with the subject line Gender and the HCR. Thank you for your support!