‘Nearly Naked’ for Charity


Erika Ward

The Western Illinois University community will have the opportunity to strip down to nearly nothing and run on Saturday Feb. 21. 

 The Nearly Naked Mile… Freezin’ for a Reason! will be held outside of the Spencer Student Recreation Center to benefit the youth of McDonough County, in cooperation with the YMCA Scholarship Program and Sgt. Teddy’s Friends.

 This annual race began last year in an effort to raise money for the Red Cross and aid those affected by the tornadoes that struck the central Illinois area. The assistant director of aquatics and outdoor pursuits at the Spencer Student Recreation Center, Pat McGrath, is coordinating the event.

 “Last year, we really wanted to do something to support the victims of the tornado that affected a lot of the Illinois area,” McGrath said. “We wanted something different and fun, but that we could organize very quickly. I’d seen other institutions doing this sort of thing. This year, we just wanted to keep it going and help out other local causes.”

 The Macomb community and Western Illinois University students are welcome to participate in this untimed one-mile charity run/walk. Participants are encouraged to be enthusiastic and have fun in the event but to remain ‘nearly’ naked. Clothes can be dropped at the start of the event and picked up at the finish line. 

 It is not required that you shed your clothes, but if you choose to do so, you must stay slightly covered. There is no maximum limit of clothing that can be worn, but there is a minimum.  

 “Anything that would be censored on TV, we will censor as well,” McGarth said.

 The mission of the McDonough County YMCA is to help provide services to those who may not otherwise be able to participate in membership programs due to financial constraints. The YMCA Scholarship Program has a sliding fee scale that was created to help any youth that wished to participate in different programs and summer camps, to partake in events such as the Nearly Naked Mile.

Sgt. Teddy’s Friends is a program sponsored by the Macomb Police Fraternal Order of Police 189, that strives to put a ‘gently loved,’ stuffed toy in every patrol car in the City of Macomb. 

 “If an officer has to do deal with a child in any sort of distress, they can use it as an item of comfort and help them,” McGrath said.

 Pre-registration for the race is due Friday, Feb. 20 at 4:30 p.m. in the campus recreation office in the Spencer Student Recreation Center.  The Recreation Center office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 A $20 race day registration will be accepted from 4:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.,  near the south entrance of Hanson Field. EMS will be on site and workers will be stationed around the course to help anyone in need.

 Participants are asked to check in by 5:15 p.m. at the south entrance of the Spencer Student Recreation Center. The race will begin at 5:30 p.m.

 Only the first 200 registrations will be given a T-shirt. Register by Wednesday, Feb. 11 to guarantee a shirt in your size.

 “It’s just a fun event,” McGrath said.  “It’s not even timed, so nobody needs to worry about that. There’s just a great atmosphere.”

 Registration forms are available in the Campus Recreation Office or online at http://wiu.edu/campusrec.