Mankinis and lingerie, red and pink body paint, and plenty of half-naked people — this was the scene of the annual “Cupid’s Undie Run” in Washington, D.C.
More than 800 men and women showed off more than their athletic capabilities Saturday for the 1.5 mile run on Capitol Hill. Many stripped down to nearly nothing, wearing only Valentine’s Day underwear, bras, stockings, tutus and speedos.
What started three years ago as just an idea between two roommates has since sparked a nationwide fundraiser that has spread to six cities and involved thousands of supporters.
Founders and event organizers Bobby Gill, 28, and Brendan Hanrahan, 27, collaborated to raise money for suffers of neurofibromatosis (NF), a disease that causes noncancerous tumors to grow on the body’s nerves.
When Hanrahan was a teenager living in Georgia, his best friend’s little brother was diagnosed with a rare form of NF. Since then, Hanrahan has worked to raise funds for the Children’s Tumor Foundation.
“We knew we wanted to do something to help out those who are battling NF,” Gill told The Daily Caller. “So when Brendan and I were living together, Brendan came up with the idea of an undie run one day and we were like ‘Oh my god, that’s brilliant.’”
In 2010, the run attracted national attention as organizers in different cities asked to help support the cause. Gill said there were “just so many reasons why it makes sense to expand.”
“So we had all these requests to bring it and we just kind of vetted these different cities to see who had the best race directors, and we just took it from there.”
Atlanta, Cincinnati, New York, Denver and Seattle have all come to host their own “Cupid’s Undie Run” events.
Participants have the option to raise money solo or with the help of a team. The team in each city that raises the most funds is rewarded with different prizes. As of Saturday morning, the charity event had raised $275,000 across all six participating cities, nearly tripling the original $100,000 goal.
“Pink Commandos” team member and first-time participant Glenda Roasa was eager to be involved. “One of my friends ran in this last year and said it was a really good cause, and so I said I would join the team,” Roasa told TheDC. “I raised about $650 and the team leader had about $500; and with everyone else, as of last night, our total was around $1500.”
Roasa ran in a white tutu and pink corset. Other members of her team wore similar outfits.
Washington, D.C. resident Amy Layne was dressed in a matching pink lace bra and panties. Despite the frigid air and the cold winds, Layne came prepared.
“I have hand-warmers in my bra and undies,” said Gill, shivering. “I’ve run for [the] Children’s Tumor Foundation before — and I have a team, and we raised about $500.”
Joshua Kane wore skin-tight Superman briefs, knee-high red socks and a matching cape in preparation for what he called his “cherry poppin’ undies fun run.”
“I feel good,” he said afterward. “The exterior is a little cold, but I’m definitely warm with love on the inside.”
While the event involved lots of skin and almost all outfits were fair game, thongs, pasties and full-on nudity were not welcome. The event drew hundreds of spectators, many of whom came ready with cameras to capture the fun.
Note: Story originally said “While the event involves lots of skin and almost all outfits are fair game — including thongs and pasties — full-on nudity was not welcome.”