David Freeze: 5K run at nudist camp is eye-opening experience

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 3, 2011

A few years back, one of my running friends asked me something very interesting. It wasnít any of the usual things that runners talk about. I was immediately intrigued.
That running friend is Trudy Gale, long one of the best runners in our area. She has been consistently good for a lot of years, often winning the race or her age group. But Trudy had a favorite race, and this time she asked me to go along.
What could be so special about this race you ask? Here is a hint: It was aptly named ěTake Pride in Your Hide 5K.î
This particular race was held on the Bar S Ranch near Reidsville. It is a beautiful 400-acre secluded ranch.
Most people havenít heard of it. I think it is intended to be that way. People who go there donít wear clothes.
This race was touted as clothing optional. I was more than a little wary of what would happen. Trudy had been several times, and really seemed to like it. It had to be OK, maybe.
We arrived early on a summer morning at Bar S Ranch, driving up in Trudyís car. She drove into the race parking area, and immediately we saw a guy running with nothing on but shoes and socks.
A few more, like us, were still clothed as they headed for the registration area. Another male friend was lying on a lounge chair in the pool area, totally nude.
This was going to take some getting used to.
Of course there were also lots of women. What I noticed first were the ladies working the registration tables.
They were residents of Bar S. I had the awful thought that a few of them reminded me of my grandmother. Only wearing shoes, they were very upbeat and polite as they answered questions and gave us our race numbers and interestingly enough ó T-shirts.
Both race numbers and T-shirts presented an issue. Anyone who ran in the altogether would have a hard time finding a place to pin that number to.
I noticed that some had already figured out that they could tie a string or elastic around the waist and connect to the little holes in the top of the race number. Personally, I saw this as a good thing.
Most guys and girls seemed a little more modest with the number strategically placed. The T-shirt is always meant to be worn after the race, but it seemed a little odd that a nudist race would give out a piece of clothing.
Pretty soon, both Trudy and I had to get ready to race. Being experienced racers, we had our routines. We split up and did our warm ups, getting loose was pretty easy on a warm day.
By this time, other runners were doing the same thing. Most of them only wore shoes and socks. I had never seen anything like this.
The race itself was over a challenging cross country type course.
There was mud, and lots of exposed roots. Of course with all of the other things being exposed, nobody wanted to trip and fall. There were several really good runners, one especially good, who just happened to be related to Trudy.
We all raced hard, but I remember that things were bouncing around more than normal. Most just seemed to be OK with it.
A few did fall, and ended up with grass and mud stains, but not on their clothes.
The awards ceremony was held in an area with lots of round tables. Most competitors were still without clothing.
By this time, I had made a couple of deductions. Runners do not look as good without clothes as you think they might, and I wasnít quite sure about all this togetherness.
Finally we headed home. It was certainly a race that I will never forget. Trudy and I both ran in our normal running clothes, two of about 10 who did.
The nude runners were fine with that, but I never went back. Once was OK though.
My curiosity about certain things was just a little less from then on.