Undie Run
The February 2011 Cupid Undie Run for charity in Washington D.C. Image: dbking/Flickr/CC BY

An estimate of 3,000 people stripped to their underwear and took to the streets Saturday in Salt Lake City. The run was organized to protest what the event’s organizers call the “uptight” laws of the state. The participants were encouraged to paint slogans on their bodies, making the event a billboard for myriad social causes. Undie runs have become a worldwide phenomenon in recent years.

‘My goal is to change Utah’

Nate Porter, who organized the event, said the goal was to bring attention to the conservative agenda of its state administration.
“My goal is to change Utah. To make this state lighten up once and for all,” Porter said.

Food, clothing and voters

The event also included a food drive, a clothes drive and a voter registration booth.

“Our goal is to register 3,000 new young voters; it’s time to get involved,” Porter said. “Our goal is to light a fire under the younger generations ass so they understand that their voice can be heard and is important.”

Nudity prohibited

Nudity was prohibited in the event, but thousands showed up in boxers, briefs, panties, bras, swim suits, slips and nightgowns. The run began in the downtown area and circled around the state capital.

Many causes on display

Participants in the run were invited to decorate their bodies with slogans for specific causes. Gay marriage and gay rights were perhaps the most visible causes on display. The Mormon church, which has significant political power in the state, is a vocal opponent to same-sex marriage.

World record?

The event only drew 55 participants last year. This year’s estimate of 3,000 is a massive increase. The group has registered with the Guinness Record Book and hopes to garner the record for “largest gathering of people in there underpants/knickers.”  But the record has not yet been verified, and it may be far from making The Book.

The Arizona State University in Tempe had an undies run clothing drive in May for which, according the event’s website, “tens of thousands of students stripped to their underwear to run through the Arizona State University campus.”

Other undie runs

The undie run has become something of a worldwide phenomenon in recent years. Sometimes they are held for charities; sometimes they are intended to draw attention to social causes; sometimes they are just for fun. It is an annual stress-relieving event during finals week at the University of California in Los Angeles. Other runs have taken place in Washington D.C., New York City, Hawaii, Spain, New Zealand, Columbia and Brazil.

Sources

Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/25/utah-undie-run_n_980350.html
Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2041755/Utah-Undie-Run-Thousands-run-Salt-Lake-City-underwear-protest.html
Utah Undie Run: http://utahundierun.com/about.html
ASU Undie Run: http://www.asuundierun.com/

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