Run Free at this Clothing-Optional 5K

A Recovery Drink with: Dawnzella Gearhart, organizer of the Bare Buns Fun Run

For twenty straight years, the Bare Buns Fun Run has attracted the most adventurous—and least modest—runners to take part in a special sort of 5k. As the first leg in the three-race “Buns Across the Border” series, this unique race invites runners to toe the starting line in their birthday suits for race up Tiger Mountain in Issaquah, Washington.

The hot trend in running right now is going barefoot. Do naked racers have naked feet, too?

We have a couple of people who don’t wear shoes, but most do. This race is on tough terrain; you’re going up the side of Tiger Mountain on a dirt trail and there’s a gravel road at the end. I don’t know how people do it barefoot.

So does anyone wear clothes?

It’s clothing optional, so about 5 to 10 percent of the people do have clothes on. But going without them is free and liberating. As a kid, getting to run around naked was the best. Our society is so judgmental and says you have to stay covered up and look a certain way, so it’s a nice feeling to be able to be goofy and free for a day. It’s a hard course, but the runners finish with big smiles on their faces and say “wow, it’s amazing.”

Lots of runners complain about their clothes chafing, but there are probably issues if you don’t wear clothes, too.

Male racers say that chafing isn’t as big of a problem without clothes. You’d think things would get in the way, but there’s something about sweat that seems to make it okay. Guys—including my husband, who has done the race for the past 20 years—say that everything seems to take care of itself. For women, about 10 to 15 percent of them do wear sports bras.

So what do you do about race numbers?

You definitely don’t pin on anything! We do wristbands. When people come through the finish gate, we clip off their band and record the number. Our timers are amazing.

It’s ironic that you get a t-shirt as part of a clothing-optional race.

People love them. Society makes people wear clothes--and most people want a shirt to say they did it. You also get a medal if you do the whole “Buns Across the Border” series. That’s this race, plus the clothing-optional runs at Kaniksu Ranchin Spokane and Wreck Beachin Vancouver.

What else do people need to know?

We’re huge advocates of sunscreen.

The 2012 BBFRwill be held on Sunday, July 8.