LAND O’ LAKES — Running. Naked.
That’s what some free-spirited runners will be doing at 8:30 a.m. Sunday during the fifth annual Bare Dare 5K at Caliente Nudist Resort off Land O’ Lakes Boulevard.
The first run was held in October 2010 as runners shed their running shorts for a brisk 5K (3.1 miles). Race director Pete Williams says not only has participation grown each race, many runners are returning each year.
“I always get, ‘I came in this with nervousness, but then it wasn’t that bad,’ ” said Williams, who will be clothed, he says, only because as race director he needs pockets. “People are apprehensive because you get a lot of dares to their friends, or you get a lot of bucket-list people wanting to do it at least once. But once they do it, they come back and want to do it again because they have a great time.
“There’s the old anecdote that you run faster nude, and some people claim they have (personal records) here when running nude, and we do have a record-winning time for males and females every year.”
Williams wants to reiterate this run is clothing-optional but adds about 85 percent of the runners are nude. More than 400 runners, including from 21 different states as far away as California and Hawaii, are expected Sunday. Most participants are not Caliente residents.
For the third straight year, the race will determine the National Championship of Nude Running.
There may be some naked spectators, plus the volunteers are welcome to be naked, too. The demographic Williams sees is about 38 percent female.
“You get a lot of mother-daughter combos,” Williams said.
“And these are avid athletes. They like to do endurance events, so you see a lot of that. Plus, because of that, most of them probably look good nude, so they don’t mind running naked.”
Cost is $30 online until Thursday and $35 on race day.
Williams started this event because nudist colonies usually have many naked events, from bowling to aerobics and more, but none locally had a naked 5K run. It’s held at Caliente as a way to promote the resort.
Afterward, there’s a post-race party that goes well into the afternoon.
“It’s an all-day party really, and people love that,” Williams said. “They get in a run, then have a post-race drink and hang out all day at the resort.”
The awards, prizes and free gifts, like the event shirts, Williams says, are comparable to any run. However, given the low price, the run may be one of the best values in endurance sports. Sponsors include the Pasco County Tourist Development Council, Ierna Heating and Air, Fit2Run and Core Power, a protein recovery drink.
Williams has seen the run affect lives. Tales of romance have blossomed, including two couples, one that got engaged and another, now-married couple meeting at the first run.
“You also see a lot of girlfriends or wives dragging their husbands to it,” Williams said, “but once someone does it, whether partly nude or fully, they want to do it again and again and again. Yeah, it’s a quite a sight to the first timers, but it really opens some people up and then everyone has a good time — naked.”
Correspondent Mike Camunas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: @MikeCamunas.