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Why Are People Running In Their Underwear This Weekend?

Thousands will strip down to their underwear to run in Cupid's Undie Run this weekend, a nationwide event that raises money for The Children's Tumor Foundation.If I were walking with my 3-year-old down the street and we happened upon a very large group of adults running in their underwear, I’m fairly certain my son’s reaction would be, “Mommy, why are all those people running?” I, on the other hand, would wonder “Why on earth are all those people running without clothes on?!?”

My 3-year-old hasn’t yet seen road races or marathons up close, so it would never occur to him to question runners’ chosen attire — he would simply be fascinated to see people running in the first place. I, on the other hand, would likely be fighting mysterious Puritan-like impulses to give everyone pants …

If you see such skivvy-sprinting this weekend, rest assured that it’s probably for a good cause. Now in its fourth year, Cupid’s Undie Run raises money for The Children’s Tumor Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for neurofibromatosis. The genetic disorder first appears in childhood and causes tumors to grow on various nerves in the body; one form of the disorder, NF1, occurs in one in every 3,000 children.

Cupid’s Undie Run began in Washington, D.C. and has since spread to more than two dozen cities across the country and three in Australia.

“I tell people all of the time, if you don’t like fun, then don’t come to this,” Undie Run co-founder Chad Leathers, whose younger brother was paralyzed by NF, told Burlington Union, a Massachusetts newspaper. “It’s totally ridiculous. When people talk about public speaking, the old adage is to picture everyone in their underwear. Well guess what? You don’t have to imagine it anymore.”

Leathers credits The Children’s Tumor Foundation for funding the development of a drug that greatly improved his brother’s condition. Cupid’s Undie Run has donated nearly $2 million to the foundation to date.

The official date of the one-mile run in most participating cities — from New York to Los Angeles — is this Saturday, though Denver’s took place a week earlier. The hundreds who participated in Denver lucked out. Despite a recent cold snap in the city, the barely-dressed runners were greeted with “glorious warm weather,” Fox 31 Denver reported.

I don’t live in any of the run host cities, so the family and I won’t be checking out any underwear runs — at least not this year. But if the run did happen in my town, I’m sure I could get over my initial discomfort and cheer on its participants. Short runners’ shorts and tiny tank tops don’t really offer a ton of coverage either and no one lifts an eyebrow when marathon runners sport those. I guess whether your goal is winning a race or raising research funding, clothes just get in the way!

For more information about Cupid’s Undie Run, visit the event’s official website.

Photo courtesy Cupid’s Undie Run.

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