Cupid’s Undie Run

Pants on the ground.  Pants on the ground.  Looking like an undierunner with your pants on the ground.

Wow.  How can I even begin to describe the first ever Cupid’s Undie Run?  From the beginning I guess…

Right around New Years, my roommate Brendan had the idea to do a charity run for the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF), an organization that raises funds for children suffering from neurofibromatosis (NF), a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on the nerves throughout the body.  Unlike other charity events that come up with an idea first and then seek out a worthy charity, our good friend Chad’s younger brother Drew is afflicted with NF so raising funds for CTF was the absolute #1 goal from the get-go.

Brendan eventually settled on an underwear run, knowing that runners and non-runners alike tend to flock to novelty events that teeter on the verge of crazy, and you don’t get much crazier than a combination of running, partial-nudity, frigid cold temperatures, public landmarks and plenty of alcohol.  I like to think that my participation in the 2009 Kona Underpants Run played a factor in deciding to do an undie run, but there is no way Brendan will ever admit to it.

Nevertheless, once the idea and date were decided upon, Brendan, Chad, our friend Lauren and I all began the arduous task of planning the inaugural Cupid’s Undie Run with only four weeks until race day.  It was a hectic four weeks and our initial estimate of 60 runners was quickly surpassed as sponsors and prominent media attention came pouring in.

Fast forward to the night before the run and we already had 340 registrants (and we had only ordered 300 shirts thinking we would have plenty of leftovers).  We shut down online registration and held our breaths not knowing what to expect the following day.

Undie Madness outside of the Pour House

Apparently word had spread!  Close to 450 runners ended up braving the cold temperatures to run a brisk 1.75 miles around the Capitol Building.  The bar estimated 600 total occupants for the party… pretty much at capacity for the entire building!  Those that showed up at noon were able to partake in the discounted and sometimes free drinks, thus giving them some added warmth and liquid courage to strip down into their skivvies.   UPS had only delivered 1 of the 4 boxes of t-shirts due to the recent snowpocalypse that hit the DC area, but with free-flowing drinks no one seemed to mind.

At 2:00pm the masses made their way outside (in groups of 50 for legal reasons) and, with plenty of onlookers and media reporters hurrying to snap as many photos as possible, they ran and shuffled past walls of snow sometimes 6 feet high and often with only enough space for single-file.

Baring it all around the Capitol. Photo courtesy of Håvar Espedal. No reproduction.

Since we did not have permits in place to close off the roads, runners had to wait at the stoplight before crossing Pennsylvania Avenue.  It sounds cheap, I know, but this is what happens when you only have 4 weeks to plan an event!  Besides, it allowed us to throw in some group push-ups and jumping jacks, thus keeping folks moving, warm, and wondering what in the world they had gotten themselves in to.

Muscle Milk, Honest Tea and Georgetown Cupcake were all on hand at the finish to refuel runners and prepare them for the party that lie ahead.  In addition, there were plenty of high-demand prizes that were raffled off, including fancy lingerie from Coup de Foudre, lots of Under Armour gear, a massage from A Calmness Within (my massage therapist Clyde), Boomerang Bus passes, Shamrockfest and DC United tickets, and last but certainly not least a free tandem skydive from West Point Skydiving Adventures with a free hotel stay at the Wyndham Virginia Crossing.  Wow, talk about getting a bang for your buck!

…and now comes my confession.  I didn’t make it to my own event.  Well, I at least didn’t make it on time for the actual Undie Run.  Since I am competing in the Beast Series (again) this year, I had to run the Holiday Lake 50k down near Lynchburg, VA that same morning.  I ran as fast as I could (4th place ain’t too shabby), didn’t hang around at the finish and drove like a madman to make it back to the undie fun as quickly as possible.

Miraculously, someone had left me a parking spot open right in front of the bar as I arrived at 4:00pm.  I parked, changed into some red undies, walked in, stripped off my clothes, put on my red top hat and proceeded to make sure that the party kept going strong.  After all, happier runners equal more donations to CTF!  I like to think I was successful, as shown by the photo below from the Washington Examiner.

Jen, me and Alyssa. Photo courtesy of Lisa Kilday. No reproduction.

All in all, we grossed around $12,000, and with the little overhead required to put on the event this year, just about $10,000 of that was donated to CTF.   More than a week has passed since the event and I am still in shock over how this all came together so quickly and so fluidly.  The excitement, support, media attention and money raised all far-exceeds Brendan’s, Chad’s, Lauren’s and my wildest dreams.

Thank you.  Thank you.  THANK YOU to everyone who made the inaugural Cupid’s Undie Run a smashing success!  The bar has been set high for next year… but we’ve got some tricks up our sleeves to make it even bigger and better!

Click here for a compilation of all the various media coverage links.

Click here for links to Cupid’s Undie Run on facebook and twitter.