Trans runner wins 1500m women’s race: ‘LGBTQ community needed a win’

Nikki Hiltz is a seasoned runner who identifies as transgender nonbinary. Yet despite that Hiltz competes against women.

Nikki Hiltz secured first place in the women’s 1500-meter race at the 2023 USATF Championships, further solidifying 2023 as the dream season.

For Hiltz, this victory holds a profound significance beyond personal achievement. They view it as a win for the transgender community in the face of increasing hostility and discriminatory legislation targeting trans youth.

Expressing their elation, Hiltz stated, “I think there’s so much hate right now, and specifically the bills being passed for trans youth. I feel like the LGBTQ community needed a win, and there are so many things that go through your mind in the race, and for whatever reason, that was kind of in the back of my mind.”

During the race, Hiltz initially trailed behind Athing Mu, their formidable opponent. However, Hiltz summoned their strength and surged forward, crossing the finish line with a radiant smile, securing victory with a time of 4:03.10. Mu finished closely behind with a time of 4:03.33.

The support and symbolism surrounding Hiltz’s triumph were notable. As they walked out onto the track, they were heartened by the sight of a fan proudly waving the trans flag.

In April, Hiltz made history as the first openly nonbinary athlete to win the Grand Blue Mile. They shared their appreciation for the overwhelming display of pride flags along the course, particularly during the final stretch, which propelled them to victory. Reflecting on their journey, Hiltz acknowledged their personal growth and the courage to embrace their true self.

Before 2021, Hiltz had contemplated keeping their identity concealed throughout their career.

Hilrz is a biological female who now identifies as trans. It’s unclear if they’re taking the hormones and having the surgeries the process necessitates.

Hiltz in 2013
Hiltz in 2013

If they’re indeed on testosterone this is a highly suspect thing, because tesosterone would directly translate to physical advantage in an endurance sport like running.

They had resigned themselves to never coming out or asking others to acknowledge their authentic self. However, they have since experienced a profound transformation and now find comfort and empowerment in being their true selves.