Running in the Buff: the new Barefoot Running?

Running in the Buff

I recently came across an article that seemed to imply that “nude running” might just be the next barefoot running craze.

Um, really?

I get it; we entered this earthly plane in the buff and it is our most natural state. But for every time I’ve jogged to the curb to get paper in bare feet I have done so without any clothing precisely…well, never.

Now don’t get me wrong, given the appropriate circumstances I think a nude run can be quite empowering. In fact, I actually participated in my first nude run (at least since my infant years) as a college freshman. As a fraternity pledge I was coaxed into participating in an annual tradition called the “DG Relays,” named for the neighboring sorority house. In this hotly contested “race” pledges were required (asked nicely) to complete three “nude” laps around the neighboring sorority house. You couldn’t actually call it hazing, since an uncomfortably large number of our active members, who were not compelled to participate as a pledge rite of passage, also participated in this “race” at their own free will.

For a few of my fraternity brothers who shall remain nameless, three laps wasn’t enough, and by the end of the third lap they were all standing in front of the sorority house singing songs to the girls who, by this point, were hanging out of their windows and cheering, whistling, or threatening to call the police. Meanwhile the rest of us had returned to the clothed safety of our fraternity house. OK, so maybe it wasn’t so empowering.

Given recent legislation and an overall, if not unfortunate, crackdown on nudity in public, I’m not sure if the DG Relays still exist today (when is our reunion?). That said, there are reportedly numerous “bare” runs around the country and as the aforementioned article implied, they don’t seem to be going away.

A quote from the Frequently Asked Questions page for one such run:

The text is designed to be read, at one time, from start to finish. If you do not now have 1 1/2 hours to read this instructional text, please exit and come back later. This detailed text tutorial comprises the equivalent of 16 easy to read text pages.

Sixteen pages? Are you kidding me? The DG Relays had precisely five words in the instruction “manual”: strip, run three laps, return.

I highly doubt that any of the barefoot races out there include a 16-page instruction manual. Of course with a barefoot run you only have to worry about injuries to your feet and not your, well, you know.

But who knows, maybe bare runs will really take off. I can’t wait to see what the market does in response. I mean look at all the products designed for people who want to “feel” like they’re running barefoot even if they aren’t “actually” running barefoot. Clothes that make you “look” like you’re running nude even if you aren’t “really” running nude?

Oh wait, the exotic dance clubs already have that market cornered.

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