The naked truth: Undie Run a stripped-down success
The dim yellow sodium lamps lining the UA Mall have lit up countless tailgates, soccer games and vendors. But last night the lamps illuminated something never before seen on campus: hundreds of cheering students in their underwear.
In what organizers called an overwhelming success, the first-ever Undie Run took off on the Mall last night, with official estimates placing the number of barely-clad runners at well over 300.
""This is more than I thought would be here, no lie. And we got more coming,"" organizer Jamal Boddie, a journalism senior, said before the event.
The run, Boddie said, was meant to bring students together to kick off Homecoming Weekend and raise clothing donations for local charity. The course followed a path from the Campbell Ave. end of the Mall, past Old Main, down University Ave. to Euclid Ave., and back again.
As students stretched to warm up, many could barely contain their excitement.
""It's one of the most epic things ever,"" material sciences freshman Brian Akpan said.
While most students said they felt comfortable showing skin, the main concern among many seemed to be the physical exertion required for the fast-paced run.
""I'm nervous because I'm a slow runner,"" psychology freshman Tia Sutton said.
Dumbfounded bystanders watched in confused amazement as the crowd made its way across campus.
""I'm just wondering what the hell is going on,"" said Tucson resident Michael Kemp, 49, who was lucky enough to be passing through campus at the time. ""It almost makes me want to take my pants off and run.""
Also on the sidelines were some exhausted runners taking a moment to catch their breath. Journalism junior Kyndra Countryman and a group of friends cheered from the sidewalk as they gathered their strength for the final push.
""We're too out of shape,"" Countryman said.
University of Arizona Police Department bicycle officers on the scene said there were no incidents but declined to comment further.
20 minutes later, the run was over and the crowd dispersed, leaving behind several overflowing boxes of donated clothes and the groundwork for what Boddie said he hopes will become a long-time campus tradition.
""From the looks of it, we gotta do it again next year,"" he said.