Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Nude 5k - No Clothes, No Chaffing, No Problem

PJ and I returned to our home at Olive Dell Ranch on Monday. Six months in west Texas, where nudists appear to be very scarce, was almost too much to bear.

Since returning, we've worked like crazy getting Dellymaze Park and the Olive Dell Nature Trail ready for the upcoming Bare Burro 5k on April 17th. It looks like we may have as many as 150 nude runners this year. Hopefully my readers will be able to attend. (See www.olivedellranch.com for registration details and photos of last year's race.)

With the thought of nude 5ks in mind, here are some thoughts that were posted on http://rwdaily.runnersworld.com/2011/04/no-clothes-no-chafing-no-problem.html about Pete Williams who has been organizing nude 5ks in Florida. His first event, last October's Bare Dare 5-K, attracted a field of 200 runners from 13 states and Canada; Pete expects 300 or more at the same race this fall. Pete is hosting Streak the Cove 5-K on May 22, also at a Florida resort:

RW Daily: Clothing-optional races: Why?
Pete Williams: I’ve helped other race organizers in the Tampa Bay area with various triathlons and 5-Ks. I’ve also been a member of area nudist resorts and, in fact, have broadcast my “Fitness Buff Radio Show” from nudist resorts. Usually these races have been loosely run by the resorts themselves. I thought if someone could bring some marketing and professional race management to these races, we could really boost the numbers and create major events.

Is a “clothing-optional” race different from a “nude race”?
Actually, there’s not much distinction. There’s much debate in the nudist industry about the use of “nudist” versus “clothing-optional,” but for the purposes of this race it’s clothing-optional. Some women are more comfortable wearing sports bras. Some people wear normal shirts and shorts, but 80 percent go fully nude, aside from shoes, sunglasses and perhaps hats. Oh, and definitely sunscreen.

You've said that women make up such a high percentage of your entrants. Any idea why?
Women tend to be more adventurous and more likely to dare other girlfriends to do a race like this. We had instances of two or three women signing up together, a few mother-daughter entries. Women tend to control family budgets and when couples registered, it often was the woman doing the registering. Part of it is no doubt due to the boom in women’s running overall.

In your experience, do naked runners tend to be faster or slower than average?
If you’re asking if people run faster nude, that’s true, at least anecdotally. If you’re asking if our field is faster or slower than average, I’d say it’s slightly faster. Our initial race attracted some prominent runners and triathletes in the area. The winning men’s time was 16:15 and the first female finished in just under 19 minutes.

What are some factors a race director must consider for a clothing-optional race that he wouldn’t have to worry about in planning a “normal” event?
Photography is a no-no at nudist resorts. People do a good job policing themselves. One of the big rules at nudist resorts is to always sit on a towel when nude. And unlike other races, we don’t have to worry about race numbers.

It looks like so far you’ve only done 5-K’s. Any plans for clothing-optional races of longer distances?
We pride ourselves on one-loop courses. If we can find a large enough nudist venue, we’d be open to a longer distance.

If you could have any two current elite runners, one male and one female, participate in your next clothing-optional event, who would they be?
We’re thrilled to get prominent elite athletes already, though we don’t post results. We’ve found that most runners have no problem with having their names posted online as participants of a clothing-optional run on race sites that list finishing times. But some people object for any number of reasons: privacy, job concerns, or just not wanting to deal with grief from friends not brave enough to race themselves. Rather than sort this out, we opt not to post results online.

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