How do you release all the pent up frustration and stress from a week or two packed with studying and finals? Well the obvious answer is clearly to run through campus in your underwear! And if you don’t agree with me then why would I be enjoying this activity with 200-300+ other UT students? I don’t know either.
The idea of the Undie Run, as it is called, is to donate the clothes off your back and run in just your underwear. It is used as a great stress reliever for many of the UT students who have just finished their finals for spring semester and want to kick off their summer with a bang. The following is my account of Undie Run 2010.
I found myself at Wal-Mart at 12:30 am the night before the big race looking for a pair of superman underwear that would fit me somewhat comfortably. Needless to say I had little success in my search and I had to settle for a boy’s size 8 underwear…in Spiderman print nonetheless. So I get home, pull my new threads out of the packaging and at first glance I think to myself, “there is no way this is gonna fit. But what the hell, I gotta give it a shot.” Now, I will spare you the details but eventually I was able to somehow squeeze myself into the too small Spiderman underwear and admire my accomplishment in the full length mirror. At the time I was still unsure as to whether or not I was going to give the general public the same pleasure of viewing the vast amount of flesh that was standing before me. I decided I had better sleep on the idea and make a game time decision the next day.
Friday brought warm temperatures and sunny skies…perfect weather for running around in one’s underwear. I donned my Spidey costume once more and after a few jumping jacks and some running in place I decided nothing was going to be unexpectedly popping out so I might as well go for it. The pre-race party was being held in a vacant parking lot with vendor tents set up around the perimeter. After donating my clothes and checking my change bag at the desk I grabbed a cheap $2 margarita and hung out in my gray "warm-up" boxers while putting out the vibe and waiting on my friends to show up.
An hour and a half later, with 1 margarita and 2 beers down to ease the tension, we all started to crowd toward the entrance of the lot. The run was about to begin. Just before everyone started to lunge forward I stripped off my gray warm-up boxers, revealing the Spiderman beneath, and gave them an exuberant toss. It just so happened that they landed on the head/shoulder of a fellow male Undie runner. He looked over on his shoulder and I can only imagine what he was thinking when he saw a pair of boxers land on him in a sea of people that were wearing nothing but underwear. The race was underway!
We took an immediate right out of the lot and I started frivolously taking pictures with my digital camera as I ran with the crowd. I was determined to document every minute of this experience for my own recollection and for the sake of sharing it with others. With so many people running we overtook the streets and drivers were forced to stop in place, most of them on their cell phones talking while hundreds of UT students ran past their cars in nothing but their underwear. Before too long we turned on to Guadalupe Street, the main drag on campus. The onlookers were hilarious! Not knowing what was going on and not expecting to see anything like this they were stunned by the sheer amount of people running by in nothing but boxer briefs, whitey tighties, panties, and the like. I did my best to capture these reactions as well as fellow runners with my moving photography.
The set course was marked at .77 miles but towards the end the crowd I was following decided to take a small detour into one of the dorm halls. Despite the extra distance this was a welcomed change of course because it lead us through a brief area of air conditioned hallways and ultimately through a lunchroom! Sadly, no one was sitting down to eat, however, there were a couple of workers cleaning the lunch room who just had to stop and stare as we came flooding through. We exited a back door that lead into a pool area with a few swimmers and sun bathers enjoying their Friday afternoon. That is until we arrived on the scene. The undie clad mob washed onto the pool deck and I even thought about jumping in before I thought better of it seeing as I was wearing mostly white underwear that was already stretched pretty thin as it was.
Our rogue race group exited the pool area at the rear and rejoined the rest of the course at a crossroads which only served to confuse other runners and cause mass hysteria with bamboozled undie runners wondering which way was up and which way was down. There were half naked people running every which direction at W 22nd ½ and Pearl St! As we turned back into the parking lot I slowed my pace and started to catch my breath, although 80% of me wanted to turn right back around and do it all over again!
Once everyone had finished, the Axe Undie Girls started throwing out free shirts to the crowd! Everybody was pushing and shoving trying to get their hands on a free Axe body cologne t-shirt. When I was finally able to snag one and escape the naked mob with my prize I was shocked to find we had been cruelly misled! What we were led to believe was free Axe schwag turned out only to be sixe XL plain white t-shirts. They were throwing them out to the crowd so we could all cover ourselves up after running around campus in our underwear! “I feel like a fool now,” I thought to myself as I used the shirt to wipe off my sweaty body then handed it to a fellow undie runner, who was still none the wiser to the complete sham that was going on all around us. “You don’t want your shirt?” the runner asked. “No, it’s not my size.” I said as I turned and walked away.
Shortly after this Undie Run buzz kill I spotted one of my fellow cross country teammates who has been living in Austin longer than I have been here yet I have only seen him once since 2003 and that was back in Cape Girardeau. I yelled out his name and he immediately recognized me. “I thought I would see you here,” he said. We shook hands and introduced our friends while reminiscing of old times. Before going our separate ways we exchanged numbers, snapped a photo together, and vowed to meet again for a couple beers or an easy run. And now that I think about it, it does make sense that of all places we would randomly meet up at the one Undie Run in Austin, TX.
With the event winding down, I threw on my change of shorts that I had brought with me and prepared to walk back to my car with my buddy Victor. Victor, however, was lazy and just remained in his boxer briefs as he threw on his backpack and started walking with me to the vehicle (sticking with the theme of being lazy, he didn't want to walk all the way to his car so I told him I would give him a ride). I was parked a few blocks away and by the time we got to my car, I had unlocked it, climbed inside, and unlocked the door for Victor he stepped inside and said, “Ya know, maybe I should have put my pants back on cause now there isn’t anyone else in their underwear and I am just getting a lot of weird looks from people.”
So there ya have it. Just another chapter in my storybook life. A chapter that I am already looking forward to adding a sequel to with Undie Run 2011…