By Pete Williams
LAND O’LAKES – The Caliente Bare Dare 5K, which has attracted runners from an average of 13 states in each of its first two years, will be the site of the inaugural National Championship of Nude Running on Sunday, September 30.
The race is held just north of Tampa in Land O’Lakes at Caliente Resort, the most upscale clothing-optional resort in North America. The one-loop course takes runners from the Caliente clubhouse through the scenic, well-manicured, 125-acre resort and back. Refreshments and awards are poolside and most runners spend the day at Caliente, which can attract more than 1,000 visitors on sunny weekend afternoons. Entry fee includes access to Caliente for the day.
Caliente, a destination resort in Pasco County with an 40-room hotel and dozens of condos, villas, and single-family homes, is a natural site for the event. The Caliente Bare Dare 5K, which debuted on Oct. 10, 2010 (10/10/10), has attracted an average of 200 runners in each of its first two years, with more than 80 percent running fully nude.
Thirty-eight percent of participants have been female, higher than the 35 percent rate for 5K events overall, and 61 percent have been 45 or younger. Seventy-eight percent of the field comes from beyond Pasco County, including 10 percent from out of state.
In its first two years, the Caliente Bare Dare 5K has attracted runners from Canada and 17 states beyond Florida (Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas). This year’s registrants also include athletes from Arizona, Iowa, and New Jersey.
Also attracting top runners and triathletes from Florida, the USA Track & Field-certified Caliente Bare Dare 5K features a competitive field that has produced course-record times (16:51 male, 20:05 female) comparable to any 5K race. The male and female national champions will receive special awards for their accomplishments. Though running nude is not a requirement for the race, the national champions will be the first nude male and nude female finishers and will receive special awards for their accomplishments.
At a time when race entry fees have escalated rapidly in the endurance sports world, with some events now charging for parking and offering little in terms of free refreshments, the Caliente Bare Dare 5K might be the best value in the industry. The race entry fee also grants runners admission to Caliente for the day, along with post-race refreshments poolside, awards to the top 25 male and top 25 female finishers, and soft, fitted T-shirts uncluttered with sponsor logos on the back. Registration is just $25 through August 24.