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  • Mindless Kona Moments Part 4 - The Underpants Run

    Fri, 10 Oct 2008 14:17:12 -0800

    The Ford Ironman World Championship has a very scripted week of activities and, on Thursday morning at 8am, the Kona Underpants Run gets its 15-minutes. The 11th edition of this “event” was bigger and better than ever and, when it was over, everyone put their pants back on – thank goodness.
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    Two of the three Underpants Run Founders were present for the real reason everyone migrates to Kona in October. Paul Huddle and Chris “Big Daddy” Danahy were two thirds of the group that ran up Alii Drive that fateful Thursday back in 1998. Since then, the run has grown to over 300 lunatics and raised more than $20,000 for West Hawaii Special Olympics. As veterans of this grueling event, Huddle and Slice have learned that technical warm-up clothing is crucial to a good day on Alii Drive. Huddle sports a green silk smoking jacket with black lapels while Slice goes with the traditional silky bowling shirt complete with “Big Daddy” embroidered on the back. Nice.

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    10-time veteran and current event coordinator, Roch Frey signs a woman’s breast prior to the start of the ’08 event. Such is the life of an Underpants Run celebrity…I hope Heather doesn’t see this.

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    Speaking of founders, two of the original Ironmen were present at the ’08 Kona Underpants Run. Huddle and Elvis (Bob Babbitt) bookend Tom Knoll (white t-shirt) and Dave Orlowski. Both Tom and Dave did the original Hawaii Ironman back in 1978. 15 participants started that year and 12-finished. Tom was 6th and Dave finished 3rd in that first ever event that launched all this madness. Just to add to their considerable achievements, both are veterans of the Underpants Run.

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    You see just about every version of “underpants” you can imagine at the Underpants Run and 2008 was no different. The Pink Cowboy Pimp was present and on display. This guy must have been 6-foot 8-inches. Nice effort.

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    This guy had metal spikes coming off the front of his underpants, er, leather thing, er, thong. No matter, his girlfriend or wife or whatever seemed pretty happy about it. Wonder what that think looked like from behind?

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    Oh, the HORROR! It seems that about half of those who participate have never Underpants Run Rule #’s 1 and 2: 1. Any version of "mommy underwear" is permitted. Good sources include three- packs of Haynes, Fruit of the Loom, or BVD's. 2. No boxers, long underwear, or stylish Euro-bikini briefs permitted. Whatever. As long as everyone is donating a little $ for the West Hawaii Special Olympics, we don’t care what they wear.

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    Athletes prepare for the Underpants Run all their lives. It comes down to one Thursday morning in October and you’ll never get another shot. This athlete is prepared and, obviously, has paid attention to every possible detail to ensure he finishes the biggest event of his life.

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    This is the first year we’ve seen anyone at the start venue (Pacific Vibrations) before 7:30am. Two early arrivers are obviously excited for this event. People, relax. You’ve got 30-minutes! Go have a cup of coffee.

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    We even had the Fish Heads in attendance. It seems that the Underpants Run is developing a bit of a Bay to Breakers costume mentality. We shudder to think what might be in store in ’09.

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    We got about two thirds of the mob in the post-run group shot. We estimate that we raised approximately $4,000 for the West Hawaii Special Olympics and look forward to other charitable causes on the Big Island in 2009!

    If it’s Thursday in Kona, it’s the UNDERPANTS RUN! The tradition continues into it’s 11th year and with it brought the usual cast of idiots and some notable participants. Included in this year’s edition were triathlon legends like: Tom Knoll, Dave Orlowski, Scott Tinley, Thomas Hellreigel, Bob Babbitt, Mike Reilly (lead vehicle), Graham Fraser, Michael Lovato, Amanda Lovato, Michael Mulahey, 70-nutty Australians, Chris Danahey, Roch Frey, etc., etc.

    The run conceived of in 1998 by Chris Danahy, Tim Morris, and Paul Huddle as a protest against wearing Speedos in inappropriate places (stores, restaurants, etc.) has morphed into an Ironman pre-event ice breaker and local fund raiser that has become an integral part of the Ford Ironman World Championship event week. Now supported by the McMichael family (owners of Pacific Vibrations), CLIF Bar, Avia, Head Sweats, and, obviously, Multisports.com, the event continues to grow with the mission of having a little fun while giving back to this great local community.

    The run starts on the steps of Pacific Vibrations with the Underpants Run Oath which goes as follows:

    “I state your name solemnly swear that I will resist the temptation to wear the evil garment known commonly as: togs, scungies, bun huggers, plum smugglers, banana hammocks, crack splitters, butt floss, Speedos, etc., etc., etc. outside of swimming or racing.

    I further promise to uphold the sanctity of the local’s home of which I am a guest by frequenting public places in proper attire, obeying traffic laws, and being courteous at all times. This I pledge as an Ironman veteran, 1st timer, or wannabe.”


    And they were off!