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The Naked Mile


Every year for the last decade and a half, a group of students (and others) have partaken in the University of Michigan's 'Naked Mile Run'. The following information was posted on Usenet in early 1997 along with some pictures from the 1995 run. Enjoy!

The pictures that were originally posted to Usenet in May 1995 or thereabouts were taken at an annual event known as The Naked Mile held at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The pictures were scanned and posted by someone who actually took part in the run named Dave.

I was fascinated by the pictures, and by the event, and e-mailed Dave to find out more. The following is an extract from the resulting e-mail correspondence. The questions are mine, the responses are Dave's.


Q. I would be fascinated to know about the exact route taken by the runners - did it at any time take *public* streets? Did it follow a loop, ie end in the same place it began?

A. Yes, it followed the main drag (South University Street) right through town! There were literally thousands of spectators standing in the street blocking traffic, leaving a narrow (about 1meter wide) path for the runners to run through. The route took us from one end of campus, down South University, through the main quadrangle (called "The Diag") and out in front of the Michigan Union (a central congregating place on campus).

Most people (myself included) carried their clothes bundled up like an American football in their arm, as you see in some of the photos. Others carried them in a backpack. Most put their clothes back on when they reached the finish, although some ran around naked for a good hour or so afterward, going into such places as bars, restaurants, and even the library (most of these folks were guys)!

Q. Were ALL the participants students? One of the women at least looked a little old to be an undergrad (but still very nice). I am assuming here that most of the runners are known to you.

A. Most runners were students, though not all. I didn't know any of the people in the pictures, since I am a medical student and most runners were undergraduates. There were a few "townies" (residents of Ann Arbor) running as well as a few people who drove in from out of town to run! I did run with two female friends of mine who are in medical school with me.

Q. One of the women has her face blanked out. Was that your decision? If it was your idea, why? Someone you know and are trying to protect? or did you do it at her request? As you can probably gather from my post it was the girls' expressions that I found specially enjoyable, so having one pic with the face deleted is frustrating.

A. Her face was blanked out because she did not look happy to be there, so I guess you wouldn't have liked the picture anyway.

Q. Who organized the run?

A. The run was first started about 1986 by the Crew Team, and the next year, the co-ed track team got involved. Each year, more and more people run, and it was bigger this year than ever!

Q. How was the word spread, and who chose who could go, if anyone?

A. Anyone who has the guts is allowed to run -- it's open to all! Furthermore, since there are so many runners (about 500) and so many spectators (about 3000) on the streets, the police are only there for crowd/riot control. They don't arrest anyone for indecent exposure, simply because it's too big!

Q. When exactly does the run happen?

A. The run occurs in April, I believe, to celebrate the end of classes. In 1996 it was not as well supported due to cold weather thus no pictures resulting from the event were posted to Usenet although videos are available from that year on the naked mile website.

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