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A half-marathon full of half-naked runners is definitely an attention-grabber, which is one reason why underwear runs are so popular.
Case in point: The New York City Triathlon is sponsoring one on July 6th to raise awareness for the yearly run. As the official website states, there are “no transitions, no timing chips, no expensive race gear, just 500 strangers running around in their underwear.”
Worried about what your friends would think? Tell them it’s one of the most popular underwear runs in the world: its Underwear Run being a Guinness world record holder of “largest gathering of people wearing underwear.” (There are actually quite a few gatherings which claim that title, and a few who have since recorded higher gatherings.)
Also, the Naked Cowboy is the Grand Marshall. So there’s that.
John Korff, an organizer of the New York City Triathlon, says that the Underwear Run was developed as a way of generating pre-race buzz. “It’s sort of hard to do lead-up events to a Triathlon that aren’t triathlons themselves, so this presented itself as a good way to do that,” Korff told The Underwear Expert. “We’re in the media capital of the world, so triathletes running through Central Park in their underwear is going to get a ton of publicity.”
“What’s lucky is that most of the guys are in good shape, and don’t wear too much clothing anyway,” Korff added. “It’s really all about fun. It’s about how crazy and ridiculous we can get. “We’re doing this purely as a PR stunt. We don’t care about who finishes first or last.”
“It’s not like we’ve got any rules except for the one against thongs, but that’s just because we think people don’t look as good as they think they do in them.” Within those scant confines, people have proved highly creative. Korff recounted how there had been a Jamaican team in the past couple of years, where a team garbed up their underwear to look like the famous bobsled team. One man dressed up as a joint, with four friends carrying him over their heads, with a fifth in the lead hoisting a block of dry ice.