Road to nowhere--streaking the South Beltline

The South Beltline is officially open--sort of--to vehicular traffic.  Pedestrian traffic, however, launched an earlier foray onto the brand-new road on Sunday.

A group of a dozen runners from a local running club realized it was the last chance to run on the new five-mile section of freeway.  We met at 8:00 a.m. in the dense pea-soup fog that blanketed Cascade Park, to begin our running odyssey.  One of our members, Steph parked her van just over five miles west on Broadmoor to shuttle people who didn't want to run the entire loop.

About three miles out, Big John started to laugh, "You know what would be funny as heck?  Running naked on the South Beltline."  Shawn was riding beside us on his bike, and the Little Mexican, David was running with us as well.  We had a good laugh at the suggestion.  The next thing we knew, Big John lost the shirt and running shorts.  Enjoying the fresh, foggy air, he ran about a quarter mile, . 

Across the road, a faster group of club members on their way back in, caught a bit of John's show.  Scott, the red-headed skinny guy decided to get in on the act as well.  So now we had naked guys running on both sides of the road.

We ran west to Broadmoor, went south and then back up the ramp on the other side, heading east.  After about a mile, just Big John and I were running together, and it occurred to me--this is it, the only chance I'll ever have to run naked on the South Beltline.  I stripped down to just my running shoes and water belt. 

Some of the girls were walking just one way on the course, and, wouldn't you know it, we saw them in the distance through the fog.  It was too late to do anything about it by that time, so we decided to run by them as quickly as possible.  They shouted and applauded as we streaked by.

We put our running gear back on and were a couple of miles from the end when Shawn zipped by us on his bicycle, naked as a jaybird.  The fog here in Grand Rapids kept us from seeing the meteor shower, but someone did report seeing a full moon at the First South Beltline Naked Run.

--Don Kern