The runners were a true mix of young and old, tan and pale, taut and doughy, sculpted and schleppy, sagging and pert. Some were longtime naturists who wanted to streak. Others were hard-core running enthusiasts who wanted to try their favorite sport without clothes. Since the event doubled as a clothing drive for area charities, some runners disrobed and donated whatever duds they'd arrived in. One young man reported that he'd injured his ankle in a bar fight in January and that the run was his triumphant return to physical fitness. The young man needed to shape up, he said, so he could work for the FBI.

Almost all stripped down to the barest sartorial essentials of athletic competition — shoes, socks, wristwatches, baseball caps. None of the nude male runners appeared to wear any form of support. A few of the more buxom women opted for sports bras. Feeling awkward as one of the last clothed people standing, I stripped down too.

The run was not an FYN event but was organized by Daniel Phillips, Anna's 25-year-old cousin. The run was open to the public of all ages. Any lone males, however, were checked against a sexual predator database before being allowed on the campus. And, as always, gawking was strictly prohibited.

Anna Phillips and Robbe White head the Florida Young Naturists, for 18- to 30-year-olds.
Michael McElroy
Anna Phillips and Robbe White head the Florida Young Naturists, for 18- to 30-year-olds.

Before the race started, a bald man in his late 20s (not a regular at FYN events) struck up a conversation.

He seemed to make a lot of jokes about penises.

We then took our places in line, and I politely bid him adieu.

The race alarm sounded. Turns out, running a 5K naked was a lot like running with clothes on: a sweaty, dirty enterprise that is probably most fun when you're done with a run or taking a break from a run or talking about a run — but not actually on a run itself.

Right into the first lap, a young woman bemoaned that "my breasts are never, ever going to recover." The woman, a seasoned runner, regretted not having used plastic wrap for support, which race organizers had suggested to women above a B-cup.

Other than bodily flotsam and jetsam and a measured amount of flopping, the vibe was similar to any other athletic competition that lends itself to being easily dramatized in a movie. On the boggier and woodsier portions of the trail, tree roots sneaked up and wide leaves smacked runners in the face, but water-station staffers and race organizers hooted and hollered until everyone made it across the finish line. Every time I chugged around the track, Phillips cheered — just like a textilist friend would have.

The race took contenders 20- to 40-some minutes. Afterward, the flush-faced participants chatted about stride and posture and strategy while eagerly awaiting the award ceremony and raffle. Parched and nutrient-starved, they crowded around water coolers and lined up for a table's worth of grapes, apples, pineapple, and orange slices. The crowd favorite was bananas, on account of the potassium.

As things wound down, the bald man asked for my phone number so he could "find out about the story." I gave him my email address. "Oh," he said.

As I got into my car, another runner called out to me. This man, who had a half-shaved head with a long, black ponytail, came to the race clothed but had become naked within the past hour. He was not part of FYN, it appeared, nor a member of Sunsport.

"Wait up!" he said, holding out his cell phone.

"What's up?"

"Can I get a picture of you?"

"For what?"

"For me," he said.

"I don't think so."

"Yeah, I mean, don't worry about it," he said, uncomfortably. "You seem hesitant. No big deal."


Nudists seem to enjoy simply hanging out naked more than any organized activity. However, they also seem particularly fond of playing music and dancing.

On the weekend of August 14, about 150 clothes-free campers under age 30 — some of whom had come from as far as New York — did all three of these things when FYN hosted the Naked End of Summer Bash at Sunsport.

The under-30 campers, of every body type, ethnicity, and level of tanness and hairiness imaginable, paid $11 to wander the grounds at various levels of undress throughout the weekend . Some were completely naked, while others sported tie-dyed sarongs, which were on sale next to the inflatable water slide.

On Friday night, mellow, funky, folksy music by the band Grassy Waters, its members in various states of undress, lured attendees off of picnic tables and onto the sand volleyball court. There, some people twisted Hula-Hoops around their wrists and into the air while others square-danced. Phillips stepped softly in circular patterns, her henna-painted belly casting a dramatic shadow in the night. Nearby, at a picnic table, friends and strangers painted suns and moons and peace signs on one another with acrylic paint. Every so often, a distant kerplunk suggested that somebody had just done a cannonball into the swimming pool.

Some munched Papa John's pizza while others slipped into Sunsport's poolside restaurant, the Naturally Nude Cafe. Others swigged Coronas and PBRs, yet curiously, nobody seemed drunk. Far into the night, the grounds were busy with the pitter-patters of bare and aqua-socked feet as friends and strangers walked to and from tents, always stopping to greet and chat with whomever they met along the road.

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68 comments
smithd493
smithd493

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Mindy Songfer
Mindy Songfer

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exbisonman
exbisonman

My reaction is a big YUK! However, if they stay on their own turf, and well out of sight of the rest of us, then let them do as the please.

Diana Hanks
Diana Hanks

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Michael McCormick
Michael McCormick

Help save nudists. Fight for freedom. Try to think about how things were prior to the Victorian age. Try to think about how God wanted us to be according to the book of Genesis. One should  know that there is a time and place for everything but, one should also remember that when there is shame, the heart is not right in acceptance. Let's work together for this cause.

Dana
Dana

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Patricia Beach
Patricia Beach

This is the best article I've read about a first time nude experience at both a naturist resort and a nude beach. I read an article about where to go for your first outdoor nude experience.http://beachnude.org/nudebeach...The author's experience bears out what I read in the article. Make your first time at a first class nudist resort. I happen to love going to a nude beach, but I always go with my husband. We witnessed some harassment of a single woman at Haulover. She was there by herself. Three clothed guys put their towels down near her and kept trying to engage her in conversation. She got up and left. We not only need more legal nude beaches, they need to have the same level of protection and services that textile beaches do. I noted in her article that a policeman did show up at Haulover.

sarababe
sarababe

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Michael McCormick
Michael McCormick

I am beginning to resemble that remark because of my age. However, I am behind you a 100%. If I could go back about 20 years, I would. Thanks for being honest. That only tells me I am not in shape and yet, there are things I can probably do to get back in shape.

KennyPowersII
KennyPowersII

Pffffft. Take a poll. I vurped because the visual stimulus resulted in that reaction. If my reaction is the thing that is wrong with this country, then maybe one of has our priorities skewed.

 
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