By Kristen Miller
It might have been the only time a person could walk through the doors of Powell and almost get run over by a guy in his boxers and not blink an eye. There was a lot of opportunity to casually socialize with many underwear-clad individuals on Friday afternoon during the Undie Run hosted by SAC.
Fifty to 60 students came out into the rain Friday and stripped down to their boxers or boy shorts to donate their clothes to the Salvation Army and then run a mile in their underwear.
Students sported everything from simple plaid boxer prints to Spongebob Squarepants-even spandex. Then there was the guy in the red teddy who decided to represent both male and female undergarments.
The runners gathered at Powell Corner, sheltered from the mist-like sprinkle of rain, and stretched like they were about to take on a full-blown marathon. And even though running in underwear was optional, most students readily stripped down and donated their clothes to the two Salvation Army barrels set up by the sign-up table, which were filled before the race even started.
As the time drew near to the start, the runners gathered at the starting line, ready to take off.
“We’re getting close – get excited,” said Ashley Borden of SAC.
The undie runners clustered at the edge of Powell Corner as onlookers came from their dorms and from their dinners in Powell to watch the race.
With a 1-2-3 count, the runners crouched and took off through campus, as whistles and cheers bellowed forth.
The race was set to snake through campus past Walter and end at the Naked Man statue. As everyone waited for the runners to make it across the yellow-tape finish line that stretched across the statue, whistles and cheers could be heard echoing through campus in the distance.
The first two runners appeared not long after the race started and broke through the finish line at the same time. Eastern grad students Colin Reusch and Ticha Chikuni tied for first and Rodney Pratt, a senior homeland security major from Augusta, came in second.
While most runners said the race was shorter than they expected and most likely not a mile, Reusch and Chikuni said it made them feel free.
“It was awesome; it was invigorating. We felt so free,” said Chikuni.
“It was liberating,” added Reusch.
With campus having the opportunity to take a good look at their skivvies, many of the runners found that factoring in to their choice of undergarments that morning.
“I think I changed at least seven times,” said Kelsey Royster, an English teaching major from Greenup County. Royster admitted to being uncomfortable at first because she thought all the runners would be hardcore, but by the end of the race, the uncomfortable feeling was gone.
“Now I don’t care,” Royster said.
Ben Ballard, a police studies major from Louisa, said the race was very tiring, but fun -even with most people yelling from their cars. His choice in underwear wasn’t as planned out at Royster’s, though.
“The only thing I really checked was, ‘do these have holes in them?'” Ballard said about the boxers he pulled out of the back of his car when he decided at the last minute to do the run.
Students stayed to celebrate after the race with food, music and rounds of Guitar Hero. And even in the middle of Powell Lobby, clothes were optional and undies were welcome.