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Naked trail race in England brings out running buffs

A Welshman peeled off from the pack to win the 5K in 18:50

Naked 5K winner Mark Jessett

Scores of runners in England joined in a bold display of raw talent this month, baring all for a 5K trail run in which participants stripped down to their socks.

The Naked 5K took place Sept. 10 near Orpington, a community just southeast of London. The town is home to the Naturist Foundation, an organization dedicated to the “pursuit of personal well-being and wellness through naturist recreational activities,” according to its mission statement. The group’s 53-acre Brocken Hurst property is host to a range of Naturist Foundation events, from concerts and holiday celebrations to this month’s 5K trail run, which was the 20th such race the group has organized.

The organization’s milestone event appears to have attracted not just a large crowd, but a fairly speedy one. Leading the pack of 130 runners was Mark Jessett of Llandudno Junction, Wales, who won the race in 18:50. (As the race format would leave runners few options for pinning on a race bib, runners are given lightweight anklets to make chip timing possible.)

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, the Nature Foundation featured a shot of Jessett wearing nothing but his winner’s medal. “Congratulations to the winner of yesterday’s #BH5K trail run, with a time of 18m50s,” reads the post. “An impressive feat given the heat, with a high of 30ÂșC! We had extra water stations and misting sprays, but not surprisingly some DNFs too.”

Naked 5K swag

No matter how liberally Jessett might have applied sunscreen for the race, the blistering rays clearly left an impression on the Welshman. “Scorching conditions!” he wrote in his Strava recap of the Naked 5K, in which he described the race as “basically a trail course through trees with a short section of road.”

In a reply to the Naturist Foundation’s post on X, he wrote: “Thanks everyone and well done to everyone else also! Fantastic day out in lovely (but scorching) conditions surrounded by so many friendly people!”

Naturist Foundation 21st Naked 5k

Others who responded to the post offered Jessett kudos for a strong run given the heat and, at times, challenging terrain, while some were curious about what motivates runners to sign up for the Naked 5K, and what kind of crowds the races attract.

One commenter replied that “some are running club members a bit bored of the regular parkrun and fancy a change. Many are regulars that we only see twice a year. Some are doing it for bucket list or charity reasons. Some do get the naturist bug as a result.”

The Naturist Foundation hosts its next Naked 5K in May.