Having embraced shirtless running, I must confess to have become rather evangelical about it, in that I nurse the hope that others will join our 'stripped-down' community - even as I want to stress that, in doing so, one is simply adopting a healthful and mind-opening pursuit.
I was therefore pleased to learn a day or two ago that I had, unbeknownst to me, converted someone fully to the cause. He is, as it happens, an old neighbour - my family has since moved - who had indeed been one of those who had registered evident astonishment years ago when I first began venturing out of my digs clad only in shorts, running shoes and socks. I was rather nervous about it then, and I fancy I can still remember his slightly forced smile. During the rest of my time living in that neighbourhood, I never saw him head out bare-chested to run - or indeed to go running at all - though we remained overall on the most cordial terms.
Still, so friendly had we remained that, the other day, we dropped by at his place when we chanced to be in the vicinity. It was his wife who mentioned that he was somewhat less of a couch potato than he used to be - and that he would come home from work in the evening, change into shirtless running attire and then trot out. Clearly, the wife had no issues with this conversion, and gave the strongest signs that she was thankful I had given him an example to follow. The man himself acknowledged that he felt the better for picking up a healthy habit and we discussed his hope that his rather slothful children would join him less infrequently. Perhaps there will be good news on the 'younger generation' when next we meet.
I can't really say why I should feel fulfilled at having increased the shirtless running community by at least one (I don't think the tardy children quite count yet). But I do know there are many out there who feel the same sense of pride at shedding the shirt (or running in jogbra), and I hope that more will offer up their views or experiences. Do write in!
May 2015: First up, though I still try to put up blog content whenever I can, it has been easier to more regularly visit the the Twitterverse. Follow me at @barethomas10 and let's keep the shirtless running flag flying. Of course, the blog still attracts very interesting comments, and good discussion. Keep it up.
Second, in the years since this venture launched, and as shirtless running among women has gone increasingly mainstream, the term "jogbra" has clearly declined in use. I will thus prefer "sportsbra" henceforth - as has already been the case on Twitter, and in recent posts here.
I continue to welcome guest posts (sent to email@example.com) on any related topic, including from those who would discourage stripping to the waist. I am myself of course a fervent convert to the joys of running bare. But let all voices be heard!