Last Updated on February 1, 2022 by Heather Hart, ACSM EP, CSCS
I’m a few weeks behind in reporting this, but I ran another naked 5K.
No, we aren’t talking about “running without a GPS watch”, the more commonly known “naked” in the running world, but instead the “running in the outfit you were born in” kind of naked.
Yes, totally naked. While running. In front of complete strangers and friends alike.
There isn’t a ton to recap about the race, it was the same course as two years ago, I got beat by the same exact fast girl that beat me two years ago, and it was equally as empowering of an experience as two years ago. I also still hate racing 5K’s as much as ever. Give me long distance any day over that barfy anaerobic, looking over your shoulder to see who is gaining on you, stressful 5K nonsense.
But I still managed 2nd female overall.
All Of Your Questions About Running a Naked 5K: Answered.
So instead of a standard race recap, I thought I’d answer the common questions that I’m often asked, or statements frequently made when people realize that naked running is actually a thing.
1. Doesn’t it hurt to run naked?
No. But maybe? I’m not sure. The truth is, I’m not very well endowed on the top half, thanks to nursing two kids and a decade of endurance running. So I can tell you in my experience, running without a sports bra on is uncomfortable for a minute or two, but then you don’t even notice it anymore.
That said, there were a handful of ladies at the race who were much further down the alphabet in bra cup size than I am, and they did indeed don a sports bra for the run portion of the event.
According to Geoff, he had the same experience with the “dangly bits”.
In my opinion, what hurts MORE than running a naked 5K is running a 5K, period. Surpassing that lactate threshold always hurts (says the ultramarathon runner).
2. What if I see someone I know?
Well, simply put, it means that they are either equally as comfortable with nudity, OR, are equally as uncomfortable as you currently are, because it’s their first time at a nudist resort as well. In other words, they probably (hopefully) came to the naked race for the exact same reasons you did. They aren’t judging you, just as you aren’t judging them. So smile and say hello! There is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of.
3. I don’t have the body for that!
Look in the mirror. Are you a human being? Then yes, yes you do have the body for this. The coolest part of this entire experience, as I wrote about in my last naked 5K post, is that baring EVERYTHING makes you realize that EVERYONE has flaws. And truth be told, those “flaws” aren’t flaws at all, they are simply a part of our bodies.
Our bodies do not define us. At both of these races, I saw people of all fitness levels, all body types, and all ages (young 20’s up to 70+ year olds).
4. Don’t you chafe?
Not any more than you normally would. Actually, I’d argue that you chafe LESS because you don’t have obnoxious shorts creeping up your thighs or thick sports bra straps causing friction.
5. I wouldn’t want people looking at me…like that.
Well, the truth is, one can never know what is going on in the mind of another person. But in my experience, I’ve never felt uncomfortable or unsafe while at a nudist resort. In fact, most nudist resorts are actually considered a family atmosphere, and have very strict policies about any overt staring, sexual behavior, profane language, photography, etc.
Our society has grown to view nudity as a sexual or perverse thing, but true nudists do not correlate nudity with sexual behavior. (For more information on this topic, review Whispering Pines Nudist Resort’s FAQ page.)
Everyone I interacted with (and we spoke with a lot of runners and resort go-ers) looked me directly in the eyes while speaking to me, and were nothing but polite and respectful. It truly felt no different than speaking to someone on the street, fully clothed.
6. Do you wear a Garmin? Sneakers?
Yes, and yes. I race in my regular socks and sneakers, Garmin (because if it’s not on Strava, it doesn’t count, or something) and a pair of sunglasses. Oh, and plenty of sunscreen. Also, be sure to bring a towel for before and after the race, it is proper etiquette to sit on a towel when naked.
7. WHY would anyone want to run a naked race?
Bucket list item. Because it’s an incredible experience. Because feeling the sun on your bare skin is awesome. Because it’s freeing. Because you aren’t that fast anymore, but you are faster than most people who show up for a naked 5K so you can podium (cough cough, cherry picking).
Because it forces you to come to terms with your body, and accept that you are a beautiful human being, despite stretch marks, despite saggy mom boobs, despite imperfections.
Who should NOT run a naked race?
- Those who can not be mature about nudity, or cannot disassociate nudity with sex (see #4 above).
- If you have moral convictions, religious beliefs, or simply prefer to be modest, then rock on, I totally understand and respect your choice to NOT participate in something like this.
- Those females who are faster than me and will be at the same race as me.
If you’ve ever considered running a naked race, I would highly, highly encourage you to do so. If you are in the mid-Atlantic/South East Coast, I’d recommend checking out “Butts A Runnin'” race company (unless, again, you are faster than me), but I’m certain there are other organizations out there that host similar events.
Truth be told, that probably isn’t EVERYTHING you’ve ever wanted to know about racing a naked 5K, but I’ve run out of time and I’m hitting publish anyway. Leave a comment on this post with questions, and I’ll do my best to try and answer them!
Thank you to Butts a Runnin Race Enterprises (B.A.R.E.) and Whispering Pines Nudist Resort for such a fantastic, incredibly experience. We’ll be back, time and time again, as long as you keep putting on this race!
Heather Hart is an ACSM certified Exercise Physiologist, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), UESCA certified Ultrarunning Coach, RRCA certified Running Coach, co-founder of Hart Strength and Endurance Coaching, and creator of this site, Relentless Forward Commotion. She is a mom of two teen boys, and has been running and racing distances of 5K to 100+ miles for over a decade. Heather has been writing and encouraging others to find a love for fitness and movement since 2009.