“Almost 40 years ago, a striking sculpture called ‘The Flame’ was installed at the center of campus. Soon after, students began a tradition of running from their dorm to The Flame and back—naked!
‘The Flame Run’ has become such a part of campus lore that it now lends its name to an alumni e-newsletter. Public nudity is against student conduct regulations, so prospective Flame Runners must choose their time well and run really fast—or be prepared to pay the fine.”
1) My very first run ever was freshman year Centre Term. Yes, I know, I don’t know what took me so long either, or why on earth I thought running in the dead of winter was the perfect time to lose my flame-inity. Nevertheless, that’s what it happened. We got the brilliant idea to store our clothes in the doorway of Olin, because, you know, science. Really, I think it had more to do with the fact that we wanted to re-clothe in warmth. Too bad…the shoe that was keeping the door propped open, fell out whilst we were running. Thankfully, one person had the forethought to bring his ID card – so I hid in the bushes while he ran around back to let us back in. Whoops.
2) Summer Orientation used to be a magical time for the OAs. We totally didn’t drink (we did) or get into the tunnels between Hillsides A and B (we did), and we definitely didn’t run the Flame from Yerkes (we did). We also didn’t climb up Old Cowan, and leave two pairs of underwear and two boxers as proof (we did). And someone’s boxers definitely weren’t waving like a flag from the spire for 6 months after (they were).
3) My final, and proudest flame run, was the last night I was at Centre (and yes, I just teared up thinking about it. What? No one who knows me is surprised). We ran from the beetle, as that was one of the only totems I had not been naked around yet. On the way back, a larger group of other humans had approached. And formed a tunnel for us to run through. So many high fives ensued. That’s the great thing about Centre – your nakedness is not judged. It is expected and celebrated.