Heartland Naturists

Sun Run 2011

Sun Run 2011 Post Race Wrap-Up

Sun Run 2011 is in the history books and was a wonderful success! It appeared to me that all of the attendees had a great time. I know that I did, and Iím already thinking about Sun Run 2012.

For some of us, the festivities began on Saturday afternoon. I arrived at 2:00 on Saturday and learned that Greg was already out grooming the trail to remove fallen branches and to trim back anything that would be a danger to any of the runners. I joined him to complete the process.

After the trimming was finished, a quick skinny dip in the lake to cool off was in order. Upon returning from the lake, Greg prepared grilled Italian sausages, bell pepper, and onion for the campersí dinner. After dinner, David, George, and I set up the two dining tents.

There were nine of us that camped Saturday night, and although it was a bit warm (only dipping down to the mid-70ís), we had a good time chatting and watching the night sky. We spotted a couple of satellites zipping overhead, and marvelled at the number of fireflies playing in the treetops (or were they fairies?). Discussions turned toward the various constellations of stars as well as the beauty of nature in other parts of the United States. Unfortunately, it was too hazy for the Milky Way to make an appearance, but there were still plenty of stars to marvel at.

On the morning of last yearís Sun Run we awoke to thunderstorms, but this year we were treated to a bright and clear sunrise over First Field. After a bit of breakfast, we all chipped in to get everything organized in time for the runners, who began to arrive around 8:30.

From 8:45 to 9:30, there was a steady stream of people registering, and we had a few late-comers registering as everyone else was jockeying for position at the starting line. When the race kicked off, there were 37 people in attendance. Not everyone ran or walked, though. Julie organized the food for the pot luck lunch, Mike was the official time-keeper, David took it easy at the water station in Fourth Field, and I busied myself grilling the hot dogs. A couple of others stayed around camp to cheer on the others and socialize.

Around 21 minutes after the start, the first runner finished his 5k and joined us in the shade of the trees while we waited for the others to finish. By 11:15, everyone had gathered under the trees to exchange congratulations, drink copious amounts of water, and to socialize.

No one was willing to wait until noon to eat, so we got started with the pot luck early. The grilled hot dogs, chips, potato salad, pasta salad, bean salad, and cookies of several varieties were all a hit. Then we all settled in under the shade of trees to do what nudists seem to do best - sit, eat, and socialize!

We met new friends, reconnected with old friends, and many times found that we shared various other connections in our communities. From posting on the same running sites, or knowing where someone else lives because they drive by regularly and like the artwork around their yard, to realizing that we have common acquaintances in other circles, many of us learned that it can be a small world indeed.

But, all too soon, people began to say their goodbyes and the crowd dwindled. A few of us stayed around to spend some time skinny dipping into the afternoon. And then, Sun Run 2011 was officially over.

As I drove home and reflected on the weekend, I remembered lots of laughs, smiles, and handshakes. I reflected on meeting the people who were new to social nudity and their different first reactions - from confident to anxious exuberance. But by the end of the Sun Run, everyone appeared to be veteran nudists just enjoying nature and the company of other nudists. I applaud all of the veterans for showing what family-friendly nudism is all about. I sincerely hope that it was the beginning of a lifetime of nudist experiences for the first-timers and hope they can join us again one day.

There were attendees from Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and North Carolina. I am certainly grateful for, and amazed by, the distance people travel to attend our events. I truly appreciate each person that braved the heat to be with us. It makes me more committed to making everything go as well as possible so everyone experiences an event they will remember with a smile.

I want to thank Greg for his tireless work on getting the trail mapped out, working with Gaea to get it mowed, and his follow-up of trimming back any dangerous limbs. He was an invaluable asset to the Sun Run and hope he can help us with future runs.

I want to also thank David for providing one of the dining tents, helping with set-up and tear-down, and for manning the water station. Iím sure all of the runners appreciated seeing him with that water station way out in Field Four.

I also want to thank Julie for helping with organizing the pot luck tables while I was busy with other activities. A poorly laid out buffet line seems insignificant on the surface, but it can add considerable frustration to hot and sweaty runners looking for sustenance. I appreciate her help with setting it up correctly for us.

I also thank Mike for agreeing at the last minute to be our official time-keeper. Although we didnít record the times, he did provide them to those who wanted to know how they did. If there is interest in keeping track of times next year, we can expand the time-keeper to two people and have them record the times for posterity. But this year Mike fulfilled what we asked of him perfectly.

Last, but not least, I want to thank Clint from the host facility for doing the mowing for us, ensuring that we had a port-a-potty on-site, and for reserving First Field for us. It was greatly appreciated.

Although there were 22 people who signed up to camp or maybe camp, only 9 joined us, which is a 41% attendance response. Iím going to look for things we can do to increase that number next year. I would love to see the Sun Run expand into a two-day nudist event. So, if you have suggestions for activities we can offer on Saturday afternoon or evening, please let us know.

The Sun Run attendance numbers were much better. While there were 63 people who registered for the Sun Run, 37 people actually attended. That is a 59% attendance response, which is a decent number. We had 17 participants last year, which means that we more than doubled last yearís attendance! It was by far the largest Sun Run crowd that Iíve seen since I joined the Heartland Naturists and it is approaching the all-time Sun Run attendance record of 42 in 2005. I hope to break that record next year.

If you attended this yearís Sun Run and would like to write about your experience, I will gladly put it up on the Heartland Naturists website for others to enjoy. I would especially be interested to hear from those of you who experienced social nudity for the first time at the Sun Run. Only first names will be used to mask your identity.

I certainly hope that the people who couldnít make it this year will be able to join us next year, and I hope that those who attended this year will join us again next year. This yearís Sun Run was a great one, and I will work diligently to make next yearís even better!

Sincerely,

Mark

Heartland Naturists Treasurer