Students strip down for charity in annual Undie Run

Unique Austin event inspires nearly 2,000 clothing donations

By Roxanna Asgarian

Daily Texan Staff

Originally published in the Daily Texan, Monday May 11, 2009

On Friday night, hundreds of students got together, stripped down to their undies and ran across the 40 Acres. And no, it wasn’t just a normal weekend night in West Campus.

The second annual Austin Undie Run secured its standing as a finals-week tradition when half-naked, study-crazed students ran down the Drag and through campus, culminating in an epic swim in the Littlefield Fountain.

Girls in lingerie rode the statues of winged horses while boys in tighty-whiteys splashed through jet streams of water, everyone soaking wet and exhilarated from the nighttime run.

“Swimming in the fountain with all these people was a quintessential moment of my time here at UT,” said Hannah Carnes, a graduating art studies senior. “It was an amazing way to end my college experience.”

The run was more than just a good time. The hundreds of students who attended the event took off and donated almost 2,000 articles of clothing to local charities like St. Vincent De Paul, Trinity Center and Lifeworks.

Weston Carls, who started and organized the Undie Run at UT, said it was easy to find sponsors for the event because it combined the experience of taking part in something memorable with donating to a good cause.

“It’s about giving back,” Carls said. “We all go about our daily lives and spend our own or our parents’ money buying clothes that sometimes never see the light of day. Why not take that stuff and make someone else’s day?”

Before the run started, the students met in the parking lot at the intersection of 22nd and Rio Grande streets to enter contests for prizes and drink dollar beers courtesy of Pie Guys.

Brothers Ty and Ethan, who withheld their last names, entered the Sexiest Undies contest in matching pink briefs speckled with white stars.

“We found these on vacation in Boston,” Ty said. “We knew we were going to do this. A lot of people are entering, but I figure we can’t be beaten.”

Another contest was for “Best-Themed Group.” A group of girls dressed as their favorite NBA players and there was a male group of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But the boys from the UT water polo team showed everyone up, showcasing their swimming bods in matching speedos and team caps.

Jennifer Blount, a visual art studies senior, said her first Undie Run was a success.

“It was so exhilarating!” Blount said. “Looking back, I will be glad I did it.”