Naked running is the latest craze in America. The popular 7.5 mile Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco has an increasing number of naked participants each year. These brave runners are observed by approximately 100,000 spectators. Could this craze take off in the UK?
Two people who might be prepared to join in are the naked ramblers, Stephen Gough and Melanie Roberts. In June 2005, they famously started walking from Land’s End (the most south-western town in mainland Britain) to John O’ Groats (the most north-eastern town in mainland Britain). The 874 mile journey took the couple nine months to complete. Their journey included nine arrests and a total of four months in prison for causing offence with their nudity. This negative reaction suggests many British people find it difficult to accept relaxed attitudes to nakedness. But the naked rambler, Melanie Roberts, doesn’t understand this view. She told the Guardian newspaper: ‘I don’t see what all the fuss is about. My body is nothing to be ashamed of.’
The New York based artist, Spencer Tunick, recently unveiled his latest exhibition in North East England. He persuaded 1,700 people to pose in the streets of Newcastle naked. Pukul, 25, from Birmingham, took part in the event. ‘The atmosphere was definitely light-hearted. Most people were comfortable with the idea of getting naked for art’s sake, but once your clothes are off there was certainly a level of self-consciousness amongst the group. In true British style people braved the cold and followed the instructions to lie down, curl-up, etc. All in all great fun, even though we were walking around a major city completely naked at 6am!’
British people are traditionally seen as inhibited and reserved, but maybe that is no longer the case. Especially with so many people willing to celebrate the naked body as a thing of artistic beauty, and not something to be embarrassed about.
Naked world records
Largest number of people posing naked for photograph: 7,000 in Barcelona, Spain. The photographer was Spencer Tunick, June 2003.
Biggest nude skydiving formation: 23 performed in 1988 over Batchelor, Australia.
Most naked people on rollercoaster: 28. Thorpe Park, England, May 2004. The oldest participant was 47.
First naked crossing of the European Alps: Richard Foley, UK completed the task in July 2005. His journey took him from Garmisch-Pattenkirchen in Germany through to Vipiteno in Italy.