Running nude is exhilarating. It remains exhilarating even when running nude in a race where most of the participants remain clothed. While running I am much cooler than the others and when I get dressed after the race and walk the cool down, I am very comfortable as my stuff is clean and dry. It is also a way to show people that nudity does not equal sex and that nude is not lewd.
Sadly, there are those who will never understand this. During the Bay to Breakers run we would encourage others to join us. We got a retort from two ladies who fully expected that if they were to run in the nude there would be an orgy at the finish line rather than people get dressed and go their own way.
Thousands watched as I walked from one side of San Francisco to the other, naked except for my hiking shoes, socks, a hat, and my backpack. I was accompanied by other Camping Bares, 2 nude women, 5 other nude men, and thousands of people draped in various textiles. I'm told that throughout the throng was a total of 40 nude runners and walkers, at least 6 of them were women. This was the annual San Francisco 'Bay to Breakers' race, but for me it was the 'Bare to Breakers' stroll, and for the 'back of the pack' it is more a parade than a race.
The throngs gathered Sunday morning just a few blocks from the Oakland Bridge. A group of us met and circumvented the crowd by taking a side street to some barricades. There we waited for the serious runners to pass, then the barricades were moved, we stripped down, took a few group photos, and entered the mass of people moving down the street.
Most of the time I didn't even think about the fact that I had no clothes on. As we walked past spectators lining the race course, we were cheered and encouraged by the onlookers as they shouted 'hey naked people' and waved. Many other participants also encouraged us, quite a few commented that they wished they had the guts to join us. Two people, one male and one female, who had started the race clothed, did strip down and join us as we crossed the city. Of the thousands of people involved, I only heard negative comments from about 4 or 5.
To my surprise, the naked men were very popular with women participants. I lost count of the number of women that came up to our group and asked us to pose with them. I have no idea how many 'family' scrapbooks will now have a picture of me standing there naked next to someone's mom, sister, wife, girlfriend, aunt or grandmother. I certainly enjoyed the attention.
It had been warm and sunny on the Bay side of S.F., but as we crossed over the hill and entered Golden Gate Park, we started to cool off as the Ocean breeze caught up to us. Some of the naked people choose to cover up, but most of us pressed on towards the finish line, still wearing only our Camping Bares uniform.
The group I was in had been delayed by all the stops for photo opportunities and a couple of lengthy pit stops. We arrived at the Pacific Coast Highway just under four hours after we had started the event.
By then, most of the throng had dissipated, we could see the finish line just 100 feet off to our left, across the street was the beach and Pacific Ocean, and standing right in front of us were two San Francisco police officers. One of them decided it was time for us to put our clothes on. I asked if I could at least finish the race the way I started, but was told no. We had passed many police officers on the route, none had commented on the nudity, but for these two, the race was over. We complied, put our clothes on, and made it through the finish gate just as the big 'FINISH LINE' banner was being taken down.
This was a fantastic event. It was fun. I felt I made a statement about body acceptance, self-determination and freedom. I will be back, and I will start and finish completely nude. I'm even threatening to get in good even physical condition to actually try running the race. I hope everyone that reads this will join me, at least in spirit, if not there au naturel.
Thanks to Les Dearing for introducing me to this event, it was a blast.