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!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

From the Net: A revealing poll?

In a post (since removed, but for the original URL, just click here) on his blog, Alias Basil: Just another running weblog, aliasbasil reports on the results of an experiment he ran in Edmonton, Canada:
On my lunch break today, I conducted a small survey. I walked down to Jasper Ave and showed the following picture to random passers-by:

I asked them which of the five bodies they preferred. 9/10 women and 7/10 men said that if they had a choice, they’d go with the second from the right. What distinguishes this person from the other four? The lack of a shirt, that’s what.
If the weather forecast is to be believed, then this weekend the temperature may creep very close to 20°C. For some, this will signal the first day of the shirtless running season. Time to witness bouncing guts and jiggling moobs, as they come huffing, puffing and sweating along the river valley trails. Is shirtless running really necessary?
Perhaps the shirtless runners know something that those who always cover up don’t. Much less laundry and, of course, the skin is the ultimate technical fabric. It wicks moisture out of your body and provides a surface from which it can evaporate, enhancing the cooling process. Why interfere with what millions of years of evolution has perfected? Shirtless runners, it would seem, also know how to dramatically increase their risk of skin cancer.
I’m not sure that I ever really saw much shirtless running until I arrived in Canada. I definitely never saw it in races. It gives me a chance to be grumpy and mutter “put it away” as the shirtless runner passes by. It is, in many ways, still a novelty to me. One of the last Neanderthal acts of bravado. And because of that fact, it is one of the 52 reasons to love running in Edmonton.
- aliasbasil

Monday, April 5, 2010

'Why don't you run shirtless?'

Hoover recently shared how he came to doff his vest and go bare-chested for runs on the beach: Yes, the lucky blighter lives by the sea. His account is given below (it's originally a comment on the 'The Creed of Shirtless Running' post in this blog), and is especially interesting in that it was the persistent egging-on of his wife-to-be that did the trick. Let's reserve further discussion to after we've read his story:

I live within a 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 "You're 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.

Some preliminary observations: We see, as has been alluded to elsewhere in this blog, that setting an example can cause others to strip to the waist. Also, the reaction from strangers is seldom to pour on vituperation, but is indifference at worst (shirtless in snow? no wonder some folks can't resist an exclamation). But what we also have here is a case of 'direct broaching of the subject' being what's needed to get someone to try something out.

The necessary cautionary note here is that one is probably best off never suggesting shirtlessness to anyone who isn't at the very least a semi-regular running partner. Though one may wish for the solidarity of a fellow-jogbraed or shirtless runner, broaching the subject could well be take in the wrong way. Run shirtless yourself: The possibility of thus 'inspiring someone else follow suit' is probably quite enough with someone you don't know fairly well.

Where the preconditions are met, though, some proselytising probably won't hurt. If your pal is obviously in great discomfort, gushing perspiration and such like, a kindly word that losing his top might mitigate things would be your good deed for the day. You might mention how your times have improved/ enjoyment level has risen/ mental wellbeing has surged since you took to shirtlessness. Take a leaf from Hoover's partner's book and frame it as a dare or challenge. If there's no reaction, let things be. You can always mention it again some other time: It appears Hoover's partner took four months effecting his 'conversion'. And she knew just how to pitch it too... but then again, she is to be his wife.

(I know of only one other runner who urged his running group to join him in trying out shirtlessness. Apparently, they would 'agree only some of the time'. This was a while ago, though, so perhaps by now barechestedness/jogbraedness has taken hold. If anyone else has a story - perhaps even a warning note to sound - to tell in this regard, do write in).