Grin and bare it
The second-annual Undie Run drew a record crowd Sunday evening at the Salt Lake City Library. Participants were encouraged to come dressed in clothes and then take them off, putting their clothes in a pile to be donated to The Road Home, a private, nonprofit social service agency.
The pre-run party and activities started at 4:30 p.m. in Library Square. People stripped down to their underwear as music played. Tables were stocked with water to refresh participants, and they also supplied markers and spray paint for runners to decorate themselves with whatever element of free speech they desired.
“This is a free speech event,” said Nate Porter, the race organizer. “I want them to have this one day a year they can don their free speech and get their opinions out.”
Participants came with their own cause to participate in the run.
“I’m here to protest the strict Utah laws,” said Morgan Whipple, race participant. “I think it’ll cause a shock factor. They’ve got a good turnout, I think.”
Chris French came to the Undie Run after being invited by friends, and was glad to donate the clothes off his back.
“I kind of wish I dressed up or something,” he said. “I wish I had more fundies.”
During the pre-run party, people wrote statements on their skin such as “YOLO,” “Legalize…” and “I’m 2 sexy for my shirt and my pants.” People of all ages and body types danced together in the courtyard, socializing and decorating themselves.
Halfway through the dancing, a conga line broke out, picking up dancers from around the courtyard.
Before the run, Porter and his crew directed the participants in an “undie stretch,” which included jazzercise and Zumba dancing.
Other people dressed up in costumes to look like Batman, Superman, Spiderman and the Avengers team. Dogs in attendance sported underwear. Masks, glitter, tutus, body paint and furry “manties” were among the costumes. Nudity was strictly prohibited.
“I’m trying to change the perception that other people have of Utah. They think it’s full of stuffy people,” Porter said. “Then I thought, what better way to [change the perception] than an undie run?”
Some of the participants were there just to have fun.
“It sounded like a fun way to express yourself in an unconventional way,” participant Hope Twede said. “It’s fun to run around in your underwear and not be ashamed.”
At 6 p.m., the underwear-clad congregation headed west to State Street and then north to the Capitol building, finishing back at Library Square. Once there, the people gathered in a pen to be counted for the Guinness World Record.
At the bottom of Capitol Hill, police made sure the runners stayed in the designated running area. There was also a local band playing music in its underwear.
In addition to the band, husband and wife Mandy and Gavin McKenna performed cheerleading-style moves, as a crowd gathered around to watch and cheer them on.
Last year, the Undie Run held the record for “most people in their knickers/underwear in one place” with 2,270 people.
This year the event broke the record, as the official count was 3,316 people, according to Utah Undie Run’s Facebook page.