Your Silly Road Race 7:18.11

July 18th, 2011 in Articles by 0 Comments

The Faster Than Forty editorial team scours the nation for fun or funny road races we think you will enjoy. Rider University’s Paige McAtee presents this installment.

The Jersey Shore will show off more than wife beaters on Saturday, July 23 – literally.

It’s the New Jersey running of the  Undy 5000, in which hundreds of individuals will toe the starting line in Long Branch dressed in their wackiest underwear and raising money to support colon cancer awareness.

Why should you run this silly road race?

First off, it might be your only opportunity to run around in your underpants and still be socially acceptable. Second off, the race benefits are going toward a good cause, the Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA).

“The underwear idea came as a tongue-in-cheek reference,” said race director Erin Ehrlich. “We thought it would serve several purposes: it brings attention to ‘that’ area, the one affected by colon cancer.”

The funds raised help local and national patient support, education and advocacy programs. For every dollar donated, 77 cents goes to CCA programs such as the toll-free Helpline, educational webinars and seminars, and the Buddy Program.

Participants can run as individuals or as part of a team – the teams combine the money they raise — and a runner can join an already-formed team or create a new team with coworkers, friends, or family. Each team designs their own outfits, the more wacky and creative, the better.

There are no cash prizes for the top runners. However, according to Ehrlich, plaques are given to the top overall male and female finishers, to the top three female and top three male colon cancer survivors, and to the top three fundraising teams and to the top three fundraising individuals.

“We give out medals to the top three finishers in each category by 10 years (so, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, etc.),” said Ehrlich.

The best individual costume and best team costume receive plaques as well.

All race participants also receive a pair of Undy 5000 boxer shorts, a more unique freebie than yet another race shirt.

The Undy 5000 takes place in multiple cities across the United States, including Washington, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati. (For a complete list, check the CCA Web site.)

“Last year, 398 individuals participated, and 18 teams were formed in Jersey Shore,” Ehrlich said. “We are hoping to get Jersey Shore much bigger this year! In St. Louis this year, we had 1,400 participants, and 73 teams were formed,”

Before the race, there is an opening ceremony where a VIP talks about some of the programs of the Colon Cancer Alliance. “In Denver this past year, the VIP was the mayor,” said Ehrlich.

After the race, there will be an awards and survivor recognition ceremony.

“The survivor ceremony, includes bringing up all the colon cancer survivors to honor them,” said Ehrlich. “We also usually have someone from our community partner speak about how the money they receive from the Undy benefits local individuals by funding colon cancer screenings,” she said.

The popularity of The Undy 5000 continues to grow. The race first debuted in Philadelphia, PA in September 2008. In 2011, the Undy 5000 will be run in 12 different cities.

“Since its inception, the Undy 5000 has raised more than $2 million to help fund patient support and educational programs of the CCA, as well as to help fund colon cancer screenings in the cities we visit,” said Ehrlich.

The goal of the Undy 5000 is to get people to start talking about the disease, which was the original goal of the event.

“Wearing underwear is more fun than a traditional race-day T-shirt, and it really gets people talking,” said Ehrlich.

Have a suggestion for the “Your Silly Road Race” column? Drop us a note here.

Paige McAtee is a sophomore journalism major at Rider University. She competes in cross country and distance events.


Author: FasterThanForty

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