The Hauts-de-France Naturistes group were astonished when a post promoting the first ever nude run in Berck-sur-Mer in the Pas-de-Calais département was viewed 600,000 times on Facebook.
The post, featuring a stylised drawing of naked runners, asked viewers: “Do you like to run naked or have you always dreamed of doing it? Come and join us on Sunday, September 22th on the naturist beach of Berck.”
“We didn't think we would arouse such interest,” says Philippe Lehembre, president of the Hauts-de-France Naturistes.
“It's true that this is the first time we've organised a race, but we do activities all year round,” he told Le Parisien.
In fact local officials became so worried about the potential size of the event that the group was forced to apply for a permit and limit numbers for the race – which consists of two laps around a 3km circuit on the beach – to 60.
The wide sandy beach at Berck is a popular spot with naturists and the Hauts-de-France group organises regular events in the area including picnics, moules-frites evenings and a naked bike ride.
Anyone interested in the run, which starts at 12 noon on Sunday, September 22th and is followed by drinks, snacks and a group picnic, can sign up via the Facebook page. Entry is free but entries must be received by September 10th.