Nearly Naked Mile breaks fall streak

Tori Waltz

11-18 Nearly Naked (Joshua Wineholt) (6 of 10).jpg
Participants in the 2016 Nearly Naked Mile warm up before the run by doing jumping jacks. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

Complications this year have kicked the Nearly Naked Mile charity run, originally set to take place on Oct. 26, back to spring 2019.

Ordinarily, the Phi Gamma Lambda fraternity would have already hosted the annual run that primarily serves as a clothing drive for local homeless shelters, which often struggle in the winter.

“It’s a good way for Weber to get out into the community and help out with the winter time,” said Nik Vaughan, the president of Phi Gamma Lambda. “That’s why we’re sad that we had to stop it this year.”

The event gets its name from its special structure: participants arrive in clothing they wish to donate along with any extra items for contribution; you’re wearing the clothes you want to donate.

Once the horn sounds, signaling the beginning of the race, the gloves — and most everything else — come off. Participants strip down to their level of comfort, usually their underwear, and complete the race bare-skinned in the cold air.

“One year it was snowing and that was the year my friends dared me to run it in a man thong,” Vaughan said. “We’re in college and it gives people an excuse run around naked without feeling like they should be ashamed of it.”

While clothes — or the lack thereof — are the namesake of the event, its also an opportunity to bring canned food donations for the Weber Cares Food Pantry.

After WSUSA senators passed the project along to Phi Gamma Lambda in September this year, the fraternity leaders were excited to host one of the most highly-anticipated events of the year. However, they found managing the event was more difficult than they had anticipated.

“We wanted to pick it up because it’s been a tradition for our fraternity and we’ve been trying for years to help them out,” Vaughan said. “But it was a logistical nightmare.”

With only a month to organize the event, Phi Gamma Lambda scrambled to coordinate routes, advertise and obtain community sponsorship, before eventually making the tough decision to cancel the fall run altogether.

“We decided to scrap it because if we put it off any longer, it would have been too cold to do it,” Vaughan said.

Although a specific date has yet to be announced for spring, eager runners are encouraged to start gathering clothes to donate and breaking out their finest undergarments somewhere between the end of February to the middle of March.

“We’re still going to do it, but we want to do it properly,” Vaughan said.