The dream season for Nikki Hiltz continued on Saturday when the runner took first place in the women’s 1500-meter race at the 2023 USATF Championships.
The surging runner, who identifies as transgender nonbinary in 2021, isn’t just winning for them.
They said it was a win for the transgender community, too.
“It was awesome,” Hiltz said after the win. “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’s 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.”
Hiltz continued by explaining how they got an extra jolt from walking out and seeing the trans flag being held by a fan.
“I bet they’re here for me,” they said.
During the race, Hiltz trailed at first, as opponent Athing Mu continued forward.
Hiltz made a move to storm ahead to victory as they crossed the finish line with a big smile.
The victory for Hiltz ended at 4:03.10, just ahead of Mu who ended with a 4:03.33.
In April, Hicks also became the first openly nonbinary athlete to win the Grand Blue Mile, according to the Des Moines Register, and they wrote in an Instagram post the next day that “I can confidently say that the amount of pride flags I saw along yesterdays course, especially on the home stretch, is exactly what gave me that extra gear to pull away for the win with about 50 meters to go.”
“Before 2021, before I came out, I was just kind of committed to never sharing this part of myself and I was going to go through my whole career without ever coming out, and asking people to refer to me differently and being my true self,” Hiltz told the Des Moines Register in an April interview. “So it’s really cool, on a personal note, to see how much I’ve grown and I’m comfortable to be myself.”