150 runners took their tops off in support of body positivity

Participants running without their tops in the
Participants running without their tops in the "Rock the Naked Truth" run. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

BAGGY men’s tshirts and track pants used to be my go-to outfit because I was ashamed of my body and wanted to hide it. Taking off my top would not even be a thought as I would have died from embarrassment.

Last Saturday morning (7 January) however, along with myself, 150 runners took their tops off to do a five-kilometre run in celebration of Rock The Naked Truth’s seventh anniversary, in collaboration with Sengkang East CSN and supported by Skechers.

This was something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time and I felt there was no better time to do this. Prior to the pandemic, I had a shirtless workout in a gym but I wanted to do something outdoors on a much larger scale. Because of the pandemic, I lost the chance to celebrate Rock The Naked Truth's fifth and sixth anniversary, and therefore this seventh anniversary had to be special.

The concept was simple – take off your shirts and run or walk 5 kilometres in an hour to earn a limited-edition Rock The Naked Truth x Skechers singlet, as well as a water bottle. There was also a lucky draw with two top prizes from Torras Coolify 2, a wearable air-conditioner, along with other prizes from Skechers and Red Dot Running Co.

Participants running without their tops in the
Participants running without their tops in the "Rock the Naked Truth" run. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

A non-judgmental community

Rock The Naked Truth is a body positivity movement started on 8 January 2016, to encourage people to see beyond the digits on the scale, to learn to accept their bodies and be comfortable in their own skin, as well as to focus on what your body can do instead of obsessing over what it should look like.

Being able to relate with Rock The Naked Truth’s objectives, Meg Sridhar was one of the first to sign up for this shirtless run, along with a good friend of hers. The 31-year-old investigations manager at Meta used to struggle with a lot of insecurities growing up, having faced toxic experiences and traumas of growing up as a girl in this world and in the Indian society.

Her experience competing in the Miss India South Zone 2009 pageant at a young age of 17 had impacted her in ways she never realised until she was much older, like how she had viewed her self-worth because of someone else’s assessment of her not being worthy of the crown.

“I like that Rock The Naked Truth walks the talks and created a non-judgmental community of like-minded individuals, focused on health and the inside-out rather than just the aesthetics. It was great that this was open to everyone, males and females alike,” Meg said.

“I found about it through Instagram and I love the thought, cause and action behind it of acceptance and appreciation for the body we live in.”

Body acceptance

Always wanting to join a fun run for a cause he believes in, civil servant Farhan Rais, 33, came with his running buddies. As someone who used to do sports like swimming and canoeing which often involved comparison among individuals, Farhan only began to accept himself more when he joined dragon boating where team dynamics played a bigger role.

“Having an endomorph body type who easily gains weight when I indulge just a little, I don’t conform to the ideal societal physique. Finding confidence in my own skin is a huge leap in my personal maturity," he said.

“Hence, I deeply resonate with Rock The Naked Truth’s movement to promote body positivity, especially among fellow athletes and fitness enthusiasts where body dysmorphia is rampant.”

Open to males and females of all ages, including kids and pets, home baker Novita Oscar, 41, participated with her daughter Gwenyth.

“I thought it’d be a great idea to ring in the new year and kickstart our exercise mode after all the endless feasting from Christmas. More importantly, I felt the idea of a shirtless run brings awareness to people that confidence is all that matters, regardless body shape or colour," she said.

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