Goodbye, 'Jogbra'...

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 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!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Creed of Shirtless Running

From time to time, there have been references on this blog to people 'converting' to shirtless running. This is just a figure of speech, mostly: In truth, of course, we happy converts hail - male and female - from every religion and belief system.

That said, in embracing our healthful practice, we can also see ourselves as standing up for certain 'higher' tenets that go beyond just 'Be Comfortable'. A brief summation of such a five-fold 'creed', entirely in keeping with most faiths, might run as follows:

(1) All Are Equal
When we run shirtless, or jogbraed, we voluntarily reject any need to clothe ourselves in fancy attire (though at night, reflective material should be part of our get-up). Our upper body is no longer an advertisement to our financial ability to afford special fabrics, or aesthetically pleasing clothing. We strip ourselves back to the essentials - we wear enough to protect our modesty, but that much anyone can afford.

(2) We Stay True To Our Beliefs
There is always the possibility that someone will demand we 'cover up', that unflattering comments may be directed our way. In ignoring such 'slings and arrows', we declare that we are people who strive not to compromise in doing what we believe is within our rights, where we do not impinge inappropriately on others' lives.

(3) We Declare Our Commonality
By stripping to the waist or jogbra, we dare to be jointly distinctive as a community, and effectively call out in solidarity to every other shirtless runner. This is the 'camaraderie' of being stripped-down together, a powerful oneness despite other differences.

(4) Our Bodies Are Temples
By committing to running and regular exercise, we respect our bodies and put health first (we could, after all, be the sort of 'comfortably shirtless' person who simply lounges about at home)

(5) We Are Unafraid To Set An Example
There is evidence that there are runners who feel constrained by being fully-shirted, yet feel too 'embarrassed' to reduce their attire-load. By presenting ourselves as exemplars, we may lead some to join us and overcome inhibition. Even people who never imagined there was freedom in running shirtless may be inspired by us.

* An important point missed, in your view? An element needs modifying? Just write in! *


Anonymous said...

That girl's hot. :) I saw a girl like her once, on a 10°C morning last June. I was too awed to say anything. She stopped to drink from a bottle she carried though, right in front of me, so she obviously didn't mind me staring. :)

About the manifesto bit, I have seen people explain it or make statements before, but while I share some of the ideas I usually reduce it to whether or not I feel like doing it, because when people comment I never know what they might say, or how I will feel, or what I'd say in return if anything. I think going shirtless is a good habit though, in any conditions where I don't feel bad because of it. People used to do it more, I think a modern prurience has set in because the net has made it easy to associate it with porn. I think people get embarrassed about seeing private stuff in public. The more they see sexuality, or even just a less than totally clothed human body, in adverts, on the net, etc, the more they feel confronted by their newly conditioned reactions when they see it on the street. Health and safety regs have also been used as a cloak to preserve this prurience. I'm not immune to this nonsense either, which is partly why I decided firmly to resist it. Judging by what I see around me, my eccentricities are no worse than most, they're also obvious and benign. Although, that takes some explaining to the odd policeman or two when they feel like stopping me to make sure I'm not fleeing the scene of the crime.


Anonymous said...

This is an excellent manifesto that makes great points and is well written. It deserves wide circulation. We need to push back against the attitude that shirtlessness is somehow "indecent." This creed is a good tool for helping that effort.

One point I would add is that shirtless runners set an example not just to encourage other runners to shed the shirt but also to the wider public to get fit. A majority of the population now is either clinically overweight or obese. A fit, shirtless runner is a clear example that maintaining healthy weight and fitness is not only possible, but fun. Yes, our bodies are temples and by showing them in public we may be able to inspire others to improve their own health.

barethomas said...

Thanks for the thoughts, people.

Crow., I found some of what you said quite intriguing and will be using those thoughts as a launchpad for my next post.

But just what were you doing that should arouse the suspicions of your local PC Plod?

Anonymous said...

Nothing much. :) It seems that being shirtless in the street when it's cold is enough. I can see their point though, some people might remove clothes that could incriminate them if they'd been wearing them while committing crime. Others might do so during a fight. Might be other reasons, but those are the frequent ones given when I ask why I'm being stopped. Most police seem ok about it once they hear what my explanation is. The more times that happens, the better, it counters the fear and suspicion that might otherwise be there. I don't do it just for principle either, I do it for me. I don't want to live in a society that wants to hate someone for taking their shirt off when they like doing it. If the police ever start acting as if it's truly illegal then we have a lot more at stake than personal preferences. Fortunately they're (mostly) saner than most people on the street, but they do their jobs. If someone powerful decrees that going shirtless is a crime, we'll end up being criminals. The more people who don't cringe away from this possibility, the less likely it will be to happen.


hoover said...

I live within stone's throw of a beach in the North of England.

My partner, soon to be wife, first started running with just her sports bra on at Uni. After we started seeing each other we also became running partners.

My partner had encouraged me to try running shirtless for 4 months when on a very chilly October's morning she remarked on how schoolboy-like I looked by wearing a vest for a run and challenged me to take it off...a few seconds later off it came and I haven't worn a vest since.

We go out in all weathers,rain, snow and shine. Yes, people have looked at the pair of us out running on the beach but the only reaction we've had are people smiling and saying "your mad!"

Since we started running together there are a few more runners, both male and female, out shirtless on the beach,including a group of teenage boys who are out running on most days too.

Great blog, we both enjoy it and hope you keep it up.

barethomas said...

Thanks for sharing your experience; I'll put it up as part of my next post. Could encourage some folks.

Was this just last October, then, that you 'surrendered the shirt'?

Regards to you both!

Hoover said...

This was just 18 months ago and shortly after we'd moved into our new home :)

Anonymous said...

I've been running a few miles a day for a little over 500 days consecutively now. Rain, snow, sleet, single digit temperatures (Fahrenheit, of course), I've ran through all of these conditions. I'm pretty sure the coldest shirtless run I've done to date was a few degrees under freezing, last fall. There was no wind, hence wind chill that day, so I had no problems pumping out a good few miles. However, I must recommend NEVER go shirtless in ridiculously cold weather, just for the sake of being shirtless. Being in the middle of a Midwestern winter, I normally don a thin sweatshirt, T-shirt, and shorts for a run. That should be the bare minimum for anything more than a couple degrees below the freezing point.

Be proud, be safe!