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Salvation on Epiphany: Naked jogger filmed streaking in snowy Russian city saved from frostbite by believer on way to ceremony

Footage of a naked man dashing through the streets of one of Russia’s largest cities has gone viral, with local media reporting that what was first thought to be a chilly stunt turned out to be a mental health crisis.

A motorist in the Ural city of Ekaterinburg, which has this week seen temperatures plummet to around -20 degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit) captured the footage when the nude jogger ran out in front of them.

The local E1 news outlet reported that a group of girls had been on their way to mark the festival of Epiphany, in which Orthodox Christians throw themselves into frosty water to mark Jesus’ baptism in the River Jordan. One, who did not wish to be named, told reporters that they “at first thought it was a joke… then we realized something was wrong with the guy. It’s so frosty, and he kept running, ran out right in front of our car.”

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The group apparently intervened when it became clear that the man was suffering from the effects of the cold, putting him in the car and providing towels to keep him warm. They then took him to an address he had given for his parents, who the girl says later confirmed that he hadn’t caught frostbite, and had been sent for psychiatric care.

She regretted how widely the video had been shared online, saying that she had only forwarded it on to a friend, who then circulated it more widely.

Another Ekaterinburg native previously made headlines for running with less than typical attire. Known affectionately as ‘Tarzan,’ Sergei Zobnin gained a reputation for jogging around the city barefoot, and running in shorts and a T-shirt, even in the winter. After he was found to have died in 2019, local media launched an appeal for any relatives who could arrange a funeral for the popular and eccentric local celebrity.

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