Why do we run? To look good naked and be honest, you know it’s true. I love to run free, without the distractions of electronics or gear. Just to get away from the stresses of life. But what about completely naked? No gear. No worries. No clothes? Is that even possible? YES!
Not sure exactly what I typed into Google to end up at the Nude runners calendar, but let’s just say I did. And lets just say I happened to notice a nudist club with an annual 5K only an hours drive away.
The Olive Dell Ranch Bare Burro 5K. http://www.olivedellranch.com/bburro.htm I checked out the website, watched all the videos, read the blog from last years winner; Bourbonfeet, http://bourbonfeet.blogspot.com/2011/04/bare-burro-5k-my-first-naked-win.html and little by little, I got more and more comfortable with the idea of running a race, naked, completely naked, in front of strangers, naked strangers, a lot of naked strangers. Turns out this was quite a popular race. Who knew? As time went on, I could just not stop thinking about this race. Maybe it was the inviting video for the event, or Bourbonfeet’s blog; he makes it seem so very normal, and is very open and public about running (and winning) this race. Or maybe it was just the thought of running naked in the great outdoors. Whatever it was I made up my mind and went for it!
Well, not exactly. First I jokingly asked a friend to go with me. He said no, but not for the reasons you would think. He claimed a bad knee. But it was what he didn’t say that helped me go it alone. He never once mentioned that he thought this was an odd or crazy thing to do. And that was all the acceptance I needed.
As the race drew near I had become both terrified and excited. I was afraid to do it and yet had to do it. When I signed up online 3 days before race day, I told myself that it was to keep from chickening out. I think I was more afraid it would sell out!
On the day of the race it was somewhat cold and overcast and I kept expecting an email that the race had been canceled or postponed. No such luck. The website had even been updated to say “rain or shine.” So on race morning, I got in my car and made the 60 minute drive to Colton. My head full of questions: What do nudists wear when it’s cold? When it rains? Regular clothes? Would it be weird to wear a coat but no pants? Would runners just wear running clothes? I had no idea and the website just said to bring a smile and a towel. On the way there I made up my mind, no matter what everyone else was wearing, I would go naked. I signed up to run a naked race and damn it, I was going to run a naked race. Even if it meant I would strip at the start line and freeze my buns off and be the only nude runner!
Heading out of Colton and into the hills, it was taking longer than I had estimated to get to the resort driveway, and I managed to convince myself I had driven past the resort’s driveway. So I doubled back into town with the excuse that I needed to take a leak. Stalling.
Once again, heading out of Colton, and into the hills, I drove up and down the road where the resort entrance should be, you know, to make sure I had the right place. Didn’t want to go up the wrong driveway and have to explain to someone what I was doing. Again stalling.
I finally got the courage to go up the drive. On the way to the gate I passed two cars off to the side, people just sitting there, engines running, getting their courage up I imagined. At the gate there were two men, clothed, checking names. I was let in and directed by more clothed people to a parking spot. I got out of the car wearing shorts and a tee shirt and was directed to registration at the clubhouse by yet another clothed person. It was a chilly 60 degrees and overcast. Maybe people would be running in their clothes after all! Further up the road I saw one more man directing traffic. He appeared to be wearing a jacket and a pair of tan shorts, but on closer inspection, he was only wearing a jacket. Those were not tan shorts. Hmmmnn.
I went down the stairs and turned the corner to the clubhouse and WOW, there must have been over 100 naked people just standing around outside. As I got closer to the crowd I started to feel a bit awkward; I was still wearing clothes in a sea of naked people. Funny, I was getting embarrassed because I was over dressed, in a pair of cargo shorts and a tee shirt. Go figure!
Before I got all the way to the club house, I debated whether I should go back to the car and strip but decided that I was closer to registration than the car, and should just keep going. I went inside and got in line to get my race bib and swag. As I stood there looking around I could easily pick out some of the other newbies. They were the other ones wearing clothes just like me! Got a shoe tag as a race bib and a hat. At the next station, someone attached my tag to my shoe and wrote my number on my arm. All done with registration, I headed to my car. Here, it was a little busier than before, there were now naked people wandering around. This actually made it easy to strip and put my clothes in the trunk.
OK, now what? I grabbed my towel and headed back to the clubhouse. Go hang out? Maybe get a bite to eat? Hell I don’t know. Back at the pool area there were people of all sizes and shapes just standing around talking, in the hot tub, in the pool, sitting at tables, ordering food through a window. I went to the food window and ordered a bagel, went inside the restaurant and sat down at a booth to wait for my food. How odd and perfectly natural, to be sitting in a restaurant completely naked, next to other naked people, eating.
Well at least I hadn’t run into anyone I knew. Yet. Really, what do you say to someone you know at an event like this? Do you pretend like you don’t know them and respect their privacy? Or march over and say “Hey I didn’t think I’d see you here?” I’ll have to save that question for another day.
Normally when I run a 5K I like to do a warm up run and with over an hour to kill before race time, I figured why not pre run the whole course. I am so glad I did! I think that this might have been the highlight of my trip. After only a few minutes of running, the course left the main area and I found myself up in the hills, all alone, naked, and surprisingly, very comfortable with it all. The course was very hilly and quite difficult. It took almost 50 mins to run/walk it. I was starting to get nervous about making it back in time for the start.
As I came back toward the club house, I ran past some late arrivals just getting out of their car. They were still dressed and judging by the surprised looks on their faces when they noticed me, they were new to this race. By now all the other runners had gathered by the start and I must have been the first nude person that they had seen since entering the resort. I wanted to stop and tell them that they should save time and just strip now, but figured why not let them figure it out like everyone else.
I got back to my car with about 10 mins to go, just enough time to drop off my cell phone and keys, and put on some sunscreen. I had bought some spray on sunscreen because I wasn’t sure just how else I was going to get sunscreen on my back. Not sure how you ask a naked stranger to help out with that.
I went and lined up with all the other runners and tried to pick out the newbies like me. Couple of obvious ones but really most looked relaxed. I wonder if I did? The gun went off and 200 naked people surged through the timing gate. Immediately I forgot about being naked and started to concentrate on running. This was a race after all.
Only had thoughts about not having any clothes on a few times during the race. Once when trying to pass the guy in front of me, I didn’t want to “bump” into him or the bushes and the trail was a bit tight. Another time, running hard down hill when I could feel my junk bouncing. More of a running form issue really. And again when making a sharp turn in the gravel, I had a vision of slipping and getting gravel rash in places I never had before.
I felt like I was doing well. Not too many people had passed me going up the hills and I had passed a fair amount of people in the last mile. There was one guy trying to pass me as I approached the finish line so I stepped it up a bit. OK, a lot. If I wasn’t sweating before, I sure was now. I crossed the finish line and had to hang out for a bit, to catch my breath and watched as the other runners came in. It is fun watching two full grown men running as hard as they can trying to beat each other to the finish line when they are naked. It was nice not having any sweat drenched clothes on either.
After the race I found an outside shower over by the pool area and managed to rinse the sweat off. For some reason it felt perfectly OK to talk to the guy standing next to me. Usually at a public shower, like at a gym, this is a no-no. But here it was fine. In fact we carried our conversation out onto the patio for a bit. He was a physical therapist and a first time runner here as well. We talked about running and he said he was here with his wife who had run this race last year.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. I got some more food and sat down outside to eat near the awards table. Turned out I got 9th in my age and 26th overall. Good but not good enough to get my picture taken. So when the awards were all given out I asked someone to take one for me. And so they did, without any hesitation whatsoever. Even encouraged me to pose a bit. https://www.instagram.com/p/BEqgSGICqPN/
I was sad I had to leave and wanted to stay a bit longer but I had to get home. I drove home excited and thinking I couldn’t wait to do it again next year. I’ve even considered going there when there wasn’t a race, just to run the hills naked and free. It’s a shame it’s so far away.
I had always figured that this desire of mine to run naked was just one of my peculiarities and it was something I should keep to myself. I can’t tell you how surprised I am to find out just how popular this whole naked running thing seems to have become. From that initial google search and a list of a few races around the country, I have now discovered quite a few more of these races. Many in places you would never expect. I think I may have found a new reason to travel to some of the states where I have not been.