Naked Runs That Didn’t Happen. Yet

It has been a little more than a year since my first naked run. And about six months since I started running regularly as a proper hobby and blogging about it here and on Twitter.

This is a good time to look back at those places I visited in the past year where I didn’t run naked, yet wish I had. I still hope to run naked at each of these sites in the future. They are each special in their own way.

Sandy Bay, South Africa
Sandy Bay, Western Cape, South Africa

Cape Town

Cape Town and South Africa are quite conservative places. Yes, legally, it is one of the most liberal and accepting places thanks to the post-apartheid atmosphere of equality and acceptance. Social practice, however, is something else. The people are still profoundly socially conservative. Nudity is very unusual and largely looked on as offensive.

South Africa’s first unofficial naturist beach, Sandy Bay, is within Cape Town’s extensive geographical city limits, but in city terms it is in a very rural, difficultly accessible location – particularly by public transport. I visited Sandy Bay on three occasions this year. All before I really started thinking of naked running as a hobby and long before I became comfortable with doing it anywhere. This is really a shame, as Sandy Bay is the site of the four discussed here which really lends itself to a proper run. It is the longest beach with the most appropriate conditions for beach running. I’m terribly sad that I didn’t make running naked a priority here.

I hope to be back to do it properly, but this is by no means certain to happen.


Mar Bela Naturist Beach, Poblenou, Barcelona


With friends living in Barcelona I have visited a few times this year. Staying in Poblenou only 100m from the Mar Bela naturist beach, I had many opportunities to run naked – I was at the beach by 7am three days in a row. But it simply didn’t happen. A victim of crowds. Or of low body confidence. Or of timing (this before the revelations of Mallorca, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria and long before this blog). I’ll never know. It doesn’t really matter: I’ve vowed to run naked in Barcelona some day. It is one of the few places (like San Francisco) where the naturist beach is smack in the centre of the city.

Mid-century housing backed by majestic desert mountains, Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs

Palm Springs – like Israel’s Negev Desert – was one of the places I unexpectedly found myself this year. I had mixed feelings about the place, but there is no doubt that it is a naturist’s paradise, in climate terms at least.

I spent three days naked, in and out of a pool. I ran a few times in the skimpiest shorts I could manage. I would have killed to drop the shorts in a trash bin and run through the streets. However, while Palm Spings is a very gay-friendly, liberal party town, it is still rural America with a majority population of conservative retired golf players. There was no way I would have got away with it. And, without a car, I was stuck in the suburban mid-century housing developments.

Next time – there will be a next time: the climate is delicious! – I will hire a 4×4 and explore the surrounding desert. There, like the Negev, I will disrobe and run for miles. It will be memorable!


Brighton’s naturist beach in the distance


I’m a regular visitor to Brighton’s naturist beach. It is a largish, open-minded site. With a sea-front length of approximately 200m (reminiscent of the extremely short Streak for Tigers), here certainly is scope to at least run naked for the sake of it (rather than for proper exercise).

As anyone who knows the site can attest to, however, is the predominance of very large shingle. This really isn’t a beach to run along. In shoes perhaps, but certainly not barefoot!

That’s the ultimate solution for Brighton: shoes and quick sprint.

Unless I get the courage up to do a proper run the entire length of the Brighton & Hove promenade! Tempting!

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