Nude Running – 12 Things You Didn’t Know You Needed To Know

Bare Necessities: The Uncovered Truth of Nude Running

What if I were to tell you that there is a large global community of people who like to get together and run naked?

And no, before you get any ideas, nude running is a completely legit, platonic pastime.

I’m no stranger to naked exercise. I grew up in Brighton, England, where, once a year, there are naked people everywhere. The Brighton Naked Bike Ride is exactly what it sounds like, and it’s lots of fun.

In this article, we are going to dive into 12 crazy nude running stories and facts from history.

From the ancient Greeks’ penchant for nudity to some modern-day tips and tricks for how to start your nude running journey.

Ready to get to know the nude running community of past and present?

Off we go!

A person holds a leaf over their genitalia.

#1: There Was A Streaker At The Ancient Greek Olympics

It’s not just the British!

Although we can be fairly certain that our cavemen ancestors occasionally ran around naked, the first naked runner ever to be officially documented was in 720 BCE at the fifteenth Olympic Games in Ancient Greece.

The traditional competition outfit back then was a loincloth.

However, during the 200-yard sprint, Greek athlete Orsippus’ loin cloth slipped off!

Whether the slip was intentional or not is up for debate.

Ancient Greek historian Professor Paul Cartledge of Cambridge University has his own hot take1Editor, I. O. (n.d.). What are the differences between the Ancient and Modern Olympics? Www.irisonline.org.uk. http://www.irisonline.org.uk/index.php/features/features-archive/171-imitation-imagery-and-alexander-popeon the matter:

“My own opinion is that Orsippus intentionally let the girdle slip off him, realizing that a naked man can run more easily than one girt.”

Whether intentional or not, Orsippus went on to win the race, and decidedly remained naked, and was even crowned victor whilst in the nude!

An old ancient stadium on a clear day.

#2: The Ancient Greeks Took Inspiration From The Original Streaker

Orsippus was not reprimanded for his naked sprint.

In fact, after the athlete’s loincloth malfunction, running naked became the done thing during the Olympic Games and all other Ancient Greek races.

You could say he was a trendsetter.

#3: Exercising Naked Was A Political Statement In Ancient Greece

One school of thought behind why the Ancient Greeks decided to adopt Orsippus’ nude running 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, found the naked body to be a symbol of Greek strength and power.

So they shoved their naked bodies in the faces of their rivals as a statement of their might.

A white Greek statue.

#4: ‘Gymnasium’ Comes From The Word ‘Naked’

The word gymnasium, or gym, comes from the ancient Greek word “γυμνός”, which means naked.

In Ancient Greece, the nude body became 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 in the nude.

Interestingly, these gyms would also feature statues and ceramics alongside workout equipment!

#5: ESPN’s Body Issue Puts Naked Runners On Magazine Covers

And not just runners, but a whole myriad of professional and ex-professional athletes.

Much like they did in Ancient Greece, it seems that today, the naked body of an athlete still holds the authority to speak to strength and power.

For the last 11 years, ESPN has been showcasing the bodies of these athletes with the intention of communicating that ‘every body has a story‘.

A man reaches his arms into the air with a blue background.

#6: A Naked Run Can Mean Running Without Recording it

Did you know that some people refer to heading out for a run without a sports watch or a tracking device as ‘naked running’?

It just goes to show how running technology has become so crucial and interwoven into our lives as runners.

Naked running, on the other hand, means leaving those devices at home.

Fans of the naked run claim that it makes you the priority of your runs.

So often when we are running, we tend to try and meet arbitrary external criteria.

We might aim to run each mile or kilometer in a certain time or get too caught up in our heart rate stats and the distance we have run, or we may even compare ourselves to other runners on Strava.

Going for a naked run means that we simply bypass all of these distractions.

Instead, we can make how we feel a priority, and we can focus on enjoying the world around us.

A silhouette of a person running along a beach.

#7: Nudist Resorts Host Naked Running Races

For this article, I had the honor of speaking to Beth Robefel, who runs Naked5K.com, a platform where you can go to find all of the upcoming nudist races. Beth gave me an insight into the world of nude races.

Nudist resorts, or clothing-optional resorts, are more common than you may think. And far from being a place where adults go to mingle… and you know what… Nudist resorts are, on the whole, very wholesome family affairs.

And they host all of those standard holidaying activities that you would expect from a resort, including nude running races!

On the Naked 5k website, you’ll be able to find all sorts of races with fun titles, including:

  • Bare Buns Run
  • Bare Burrito Race
  • Wiggle, Jiggle & Giggle “Clothing Optional” 5k Road Race
  • Chilly Cheeks 5K

If those titles don’t convince you to give a naked 5k run a go, I don’t know what will!

Two feet standing on the sand near a wave.

#8: Nude Runners Think Nudity Is No Big Deal

In my conversation with Beth Robefel, who has run over 18 races since 2016, she told me about her experience with nude running as a body-positive experience.

Stepping out into public in the nude may seem like it would be a cause for embarrassment, but at these nudist races, it is simply not so.

You see, when everyone is naked, being naked is suddenly nothing remarkable.

Beth told me that for her, ‘the races themselves are more friendly and accepting than clothed races.’

Here are some quotes from some of fellow Beth’s nude running friends:

One said, “It was like stepping from Kansas to OZ” when standing in a group naked with other naked people.

Another said, “When everyone is naked, it’s just no big deal.”

You can imagine how freeing it is to step out from a world where being in the nude is completely taboo into a space where your naked body is out and about with no one to criticize or condemn you.

A person wearing white shoes goes for a run.

#9: Nude Runners Call Those Who Don’t Run Naked ‘Textile Runners’

In the nude running community, it is common to refer to runners who wear clothes as ‘textile runners.’

And what we would consider to be regular races are actually called ‘textile races’.

#10: No Bra While Running???

You may be sitting there thinking that nude running is all well and good but in no way practical.

If you’ve got them, what on earth do you do with your boobs?!

Well, the verdict is still out, and the bottom line is that it really just depends on you and your boobs.

Some runners who take part in nude running races do actually keep their bras on for comfort. They are called ‘clothing optional’ races, after all.

Meanwhile, there is a school of thought out there that running without a sports bra actually strengthens the underlying chest muscles and that wearing a bra leads to those same muscles becoming atrophied.

Now, there is no strong research to back this one up, but plenty of nude runners sing the praises of not wearing a bra.

A runner runs through the sea.

#11: Nude Running Calls For Anti-Chafe Cream

If you’re serious about going on a naked run, maybe you’ve signed up to a nude running race, or maybe you’ve got a very large back garden, one thing is for sure… you need to lube up!

You won’t be surprised to quickly discover that nude running can lead to a whole lot of chafe.

Particularly if you’re running a longer race like a half marathon or ultramarathon.

Without those pesky textiles to act as a buffer between your thighs, arms, body, and everything else… you might want to consider another kind of skin protector.

Incoming body glide!

Body glide is THE anti-chafe balm.

Who even needs clothes when you have this stuff!?

And if you’re going to try out nude running, consider the more is more technique when it comes to anti-chafe balm.

#12: You Can Buy Nude Running Merch!

Maybe you like to run in the nude yourself, or maybe you know someone who does.

Here are our top pics for nude running gear to make any nontextile runner happy.

With no pockets, this handy phone and cardholder could be useful when out for a naked run. And no, we would say that it doesn’t count as an item of clothing.

A person wearing shoes walks along a leafy woodland trail.

Final Thoughts

Now, if you have read this article and fancy going for a naked run, there are a few things to consider.

  • Don’t go to a public park with your running club; perhaps stick to trail running or a nude beach at the beginning.
  • Getting in touch with other naturist communities is probably the best way to go about it.
  • If you’ve signed up for a race like the London Marathon, you’ll probably have to put on some clothing.
  • If you’re in marathon training and will spend many bare-bottomed days out in the sun, remember sunscreen!
  • Running shoes are also optional!

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Maria Andrews is a runner, adventure lover, and UESCA certified Ultramarathon Coach. When she's not running around the woods or plotting adventures, she's spending time with her nearest and dearest, cooking up a storm, or working on Marathon Handbook's sister website, yogajala.com :)

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