I have written many times that I like running naked, but after I came in third in my first ever naked race, it is a good time to tell why I think running naked is not only fun, but actually is the most natural activity for a human being. We just need to let the International Olympic Committee know. Actually, the Ancient Olympic committee must have known it.
Current evidence suggests that long-distance running was crucial in human evolution. Did you know that humans are the best long-distance runners among all animals? We can outrun even a horse! And one of the keys in our success as long distance runners has been our nakedness. Here are the links to a scientific peer-reviewed article on endurance running and the evolution of Homo [a genus to which our species, Homo sapiens, as well our ancestor and cousin species belong], as well as a short summary in the same journal, Nature, and another one from BBC.
Selection towards endurance running apparently shaped our body from bones to skin. It made us essentially two-legged and our legs longer than in any other ape. Not only skeleton changed, so did musculature, thanks to which we have prominent buttocks: we barely use gluteus maximus muscle for walking, but it is very active during running. Finally, our bare skin, as opposed to fur or feathers in other famous runners among animals, such as cheetahs, horses or ostriches, is an adaptation to prevent our body from overheating during running, as it allows us to sweat effectively with the whole surface of our body. So even though we are poor sprinters compared to many other animals, in the long run – quite literally – we could beat any of them! This ability was and still is used for hunting animals by exhausting them, the so-called persistence hunting.
Thus, people running in clothes, even light ‘professional running’ clothes, is evolutionary nonsense, a totally backward idea so to say. Sometimes you get questions how it feels with ‘things’ swaying and flopping. I’ve never had any issues or discomfort with that, and, at least from a male perspective when you think of it seriously, it’s difficult to see it as a real problem (you may get some insight on this issue from a female prospective from a blogpost on Young Naturists America). In the Bouncing Buns race almost all men ran totally bare, and most women without bras, so I assume most of the participants felt fine running naked. I could imagine it might be an issue for men who always wear tight underwear and for women always wearing bras, if their scrotum and breast are not used to supporting themselves, but that actually doesn’t sound healthy. On the other hand, when I told a friend about me participating in the naked race, he suggested that additional “pendulum” might be actually advantageous if you synchronise the swing with the forward move :D
I suggest you to test this hypothesis on your own. Go for a good long run, naked run, like a real human ;-)