Our editor takes on naked running.
They say 90 percent of life is just showing up, and that’s certainly true in running. Toeing the starting line is often the toughest part. For me, no starting line was scarier than the Fig Leaf 5K, a naked race at a north Georgia nudist colony.
I had streaked across my college campus in a drunken blur, and I had once been dared to run a naked lap around a bar during a blizzard. But never before had I faced spectators and sobriety sans clothes.
I waited until a few minutes before the start to disrobe. Instead of a race bib, my race number was written across my butt cheeks.
Over 100 runners had gathered at the starting line. Many were top athletes from across the Blue Ridge. They seemed a lot less intimidating without their shorts.
Still, I had plenty of reasons to feel self-conscious. How would I measure up? What if I was aroused by a beautiful female runner? Most of all, I was worried about the flop factor. How would my bait and tackle hold up to three miles of bouncing?
It was a cold April morning in the mountains, and my twig and berries shriveled up as soon as I dropped my drawers. I joined the other nude runners at the start making jokes and milling around in the buff.
“Weather’s a bit nipply this morning.”
“Gonna run hard today?”
“Nah…feeling a bit stiff.”
At the starting line, it was hard to know where to look. Runners are always sizing up their competition, but this was nuts. I tried to stare ahead at the race course, but I felt like I was standing at a crowded row of urinals, trying not to glance.
A crowd of stark-naked spectators—most of them from the nudist colony—gathered at the start. Cameras flashed as we took off. (I have no idea where those photos ended up.)
For the first mile, I sagged back and dangled off the lead pack. Then around mile two, I made a hard sprint to the front.
Freeballing had never felt so good. My junk jiggled and bounced, and my flabby bare skin rippled with savage delight. I felt primitive and raw. I was pure animal, unlocked from my self-conscious mind cage, running wild and free.
I hung on through the final mile, though a heavy-breathing hardass approached me from behind in the final homestretch. I bared it all in a balls-out kick for the finish—and edged him by a hair.
Afterward, I sat in the sun, soaking it all in. I had shed my inhibitions along with my clothes at the starting line. My mile splits and finishing time didn’t matter. It was the most fun I’d had running in a long time.
Running au naturel exposed a naked truth: bodies are amazing—even the sagging, droopy parts. I vowed to spend more time in the buff, getting more comfortable in my own skin.
No, the Fig Leaf 5K didn’t turn me into a nudist. I still wear shorts on my morning runs.
But at least I’ve taken off my watch.