Playa Ingles & Playa Maspalomas, Gran Canaria
This was not the place to feel like the only man on earth.
Even before sunrise Playa del Ingles’ wide and flat beach was populated by a wide variety of walkers and runners. It felt quite similar to my frequent (clothed) runs on the sea-front promenade near my home. It is a place, however, with ease of access to a massively expansive flat beach overlooked by Saharan-like dunes. Solitary naked running suddenly became social naked running
The beaches of the Canary Islands tend to be on the eastern sides of each island; I would guess that this is due to prevailing winds and sea currents (surfing and strong waves are present on the western ‘windward’ sides of the island; flat seas and sandy beaches are present on the eastern ‘leeward’ sides). This made sandy beach runs perfectly positioned for spectacular sunrises both on Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria. So, in my short 48 hours on Gran Canaria I ran barefoot and naked for both of the possible sunrises. I am not normally a morning runner. My body is not warmed up; my joints are stiff; I prefer in almost any circumstance running in the evening. But the circumstances in the Canaries changed all that. It was such a sublime experience, I wanted to experience it every possible day.
In my previous blog, Naked Run 6.1 on the beaches of Fuerteventura, I recounted the pleasure of meeting a new naked running friend and running at sunrise together. Other than the social naturism 5k naked run four months earlier, that was the first time I ran naked with someone else. At Gran Canaria fate put me and two other naked running friends (encountered at that same 5k naked run) in the same place at the same time. So, to our great pleasure, we went for a sunset barefoot naked run along the beach. I’m not sure that I convinced either of them of the special pleasure and ecstasy that comes from barefoot naked running at water’s edge, but D and V were good sports and we completed nearly 4k that evening.
After nine days in the Canary Islands, I was preparing to return to my current island home. What really struck me about this trip was how perfect the climate was for naked running. It is a personal view, of course, but the temperature range of 22c – 27c seems to me to be ideal for comfortable naked running without feeling chilled or over heated. Given that the sea water temperature was almost identical to the air temperature, this provided the guarantee of after-run swimming. It was the ideal combination. Never too hot, never too cold, and pretty consistent day after day.
The next morning on the final stretch of the 8k final sunrise run, one of my favourite up-tempo running tunes (Silence by Portishead) randomly shuffled on my music player. As I negotiated a segment of the beach littered with sea pebbles, I upped my pace in time with the beat of the music. Barefoot, my feet were liberated, nimble and flexible. I felt like a skier slaloming through the downhill gates, my speed, direction and angle of attack shifting and changing with each pebble in my path, with each foot-strike on the damp sand. I was sprinting now through my obstacles. Concurrently, I was filled with existential thoughts. Tears came to my eyes as I felt that ecstatic explosion in my gut. That fire of existence burning brightly, raging with life.
On this beautiful morning on Gran Canaria I was not wild man. I was not Adam. This morning I was a gazelle.
Naked Run Facts
Date: 12 – 14 September 2015 (three individual runs)
Location: Playa del Ingles, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain
Time of Day: 07:30, 20:00 and 07:30
Air Temperature: 22c – 26c
Conditions: partly cloudy and calm
Run Length: 2k, 3.75k and 7.5k
Duration (h:mm): 0:10, 0:19 and 0:42
Barefoot or Shoes: all barefoot
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