What if I told you that there is a large global community of people who love to get together and run naked?
And no, before you get any ideas, nude running is a perfectly legitimate, platonic pastime.
I am no stranger to naked exercise. I grew up in Brighton, England, where naked people are everywhere once a year.The Brighton Naked Bike Ride is exactly what it sounds like, and it’s a lot of fun.
In this article, we’re going to dive into 12 crazy nude stories and facts from history.
From the ancient Greeks who loved nudity to some modern tips and tricks to start your nude running journey.
Ready to get to know the nudist community past and present?
Here we go!
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While we can be pretty sure that our caveman ancestors occasionally walked around naked, the first naked runner ever officially documented was in 720 BCE during the Fifteenth Olympic Games in Ancient Greece.
The traditional competition uniform was a loincloth.
During the 200-meter sprint, Greek athlete Orsippus’ loincloth slipped off!
Whether the slip was intentional or not is up for debate.
The ancient Greek historian Professor Paul Cartledge of the University of Cambridge has his own take on the matter:
“My own opinion is that Orsippus deliberately slipped the belt off him, realising that a naked man can run more easily than one belt.”
Whether on purpose or not, Orsippus won the race and definitely remained naked, even being crowned the victor while naked!
Orsippus was not reprimanded for his naked sprint.
After the athlete’s loincloth malfunctioned, running naked became the custom during the Olympics and all other ancient Greek races.
You could say he was a trendsetter.
One thought behind why the ancient Greeks decided to adopt Orsippus’ nude walking method is that nudity was a political statement.
Greece’s neighbors and enemies, namely the Persians, considered appearing naked in public to be very indecent.
The ancient Greeks, on the other hand, considered the naked body a symbol of Greek strength and power.
So they shoved their naked bodies into the faces of their rivals as a declaration of their power.
The word gymnasium, or gym, comes from the ancient Greek word “”, meaning naked.
In ancient Greece, the naked body was so widely celebrated that they built gymnasiums (or “naked rooms”) where the naked body could be celebrated.
Greeks would go to these gyms to condition their bodies naked.
Interestingly, these gyms are said to have statues and ceramics in addition to training equipment!
And not just runners, but a whole host of professional and ex-pro athletes.
Just as they did in ancient Greece, it seems that an athlete’s naked body still has the authority to speak of strength and power.
For the past 11 years, ESPN has showcased the bodies of these athletes with the intent of communicating that “everybody has a story.”
Did you know that some people call running without a sports watch or tracking device “running naked”?
It just goes to show how running technology has become so crucial and intertwined in our lives as runners.
Running naked, on the other hand, means leaving those devices at home.
Fans of the naked run claim it makes you the priority of your runs.
As we run, we tend to try to meet arbitrary external criteria.
We could try to run every mile or kilometre in a set amount of time, or get too caught up in our heart rate stats, the distance we’ve run, or we could even compare ourselves to other runners on Strava.
Running naked means we simply avoid all these distractions.
Instead, we can prioritise how we feel and focus on enjoying the world around us.
For this article, I had the honour of speaking with Beth Robefel, who runs Naked5K.com, a platform where you can find all the upcoming nudist races. Beth gave me insight into the world of nude racing.
Nudist resorts, or clothing-optional resorts, are more common than you might think. And far from being a gathering place for adults… and you know what…Nudist resorts are generally very healthy family affairs.
And they run all those standard vacation activities you would expect from a resort, including nude running races!
On the Naked 5k website, you can find all kinds of races with fun titles, including:
those titles don’t convince you to try a naked 5K run, then I don’t know what will!
In my conversation with Beth Robefel, who has run over 18 races since 2016, she told me about her experience of running naked as a positive body experience.
Going naked in public may seem like a cause for embarrassment, but that’s just not the case with these nudist races.
You see, when everyone is naked, being naked suddenly has nothing special.
Beth told me that for her, “the races themselves are friendlier and more acceptable than dress races.”
And here are some quotes from some of Beth’s naked running buddies:
One of them said, “It was like stepping from Kansas to Oz” when you were naked in a group with other naked people.
Another said, “When everyone is naked, it’s just not a big deal.”
You can imagine how liberating it is to step out of a world where being naked is completely taboo and into a space where your naked body is out and about without anyone criticising or judging you.
In the nude community, it is common to refer to runners who wear clothes as “textile runners.”
And what we would consider regular flights are actually called “textile races”.
You might be sitting there thinking that running naked is all well and good, but not practical in any way.
If you have them, what the hell are you doing with your boobs?
Well, the verdict is still unknown, and the bottom line is that it really just depends on you and your boobs.
Some runners who participate in naked running races keep their bras on for comfort. After all, they’re called “clothing-optional” races.
Meanwhile, there’s some evidence that running without a bra actually strengthens the underlying pectoral muscles, and wearing a bra causes those same muscles to atrophy. There
‘s no strong research to back this up, but many nude runners sing the praises of not wearing a bra.
If you’re serious about going for a run, maybe you’ve signed up for a nude race, or maybe you have a really big backyard, one thing’s for sure, you’ll need to get some oil!
It won’t surprise you if you soon discover that running naked can lead to a lot of irritation.
Without those pesky textiles to act as a buffer between your thighs, arms, and body and everything else, you might want to consider a different kind of skin protector.