The proceeds from this annual tradition in Hawaii go to a good cause.
Written by: Linzay Logan
This weekend marks the 33rd annual Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Thousands of triathletes, their friends and families have been flocking to the island in the last few weeks in preparation for the coveted race. Since the first Ironman in 1977, the race has acquired a few traditions. One in particular is a slightly less competitive race that took place this morning—the Annual Kona Underpants Run. And in it’s 14th year, it has become quite the spectacle, annually attracting more than 1,000 Ironman participants, children, visitors, locals and even underpant clad dogs.
Professional triathletes, Paul Huddle, Chris Danahy and Tim Morris, founded the 1.5-mile run when they noticed locals taking offense to the large number of triathletes sporting their speedos outside the pool during Ironman week. Confident triathletes were spotted in their swimwear at restaurants, grocery stores and coffee shops, and stuck out like a sore thumb to the locals. To make fun of the scantily clad triathletes, the men decided to create a race around the look.
Today the race has a very strict dress code of tighty whities for the men, sports bras for the women, tall black socks, the very necessary heart-rate monitor strap and an optional hat of choice. Pro triathlete Roch Frey told Big Island News earlier this week that he is taking the race very seriously and planned to hand out tighy whities to men who showed up to the run not wearing the appropriate attire.
There are no podium finishes to this race that includes callisthenic training around the halfway mark, but that’s no reason not to take the race seriously as it does support a very important cause. In lieu of a race fee, each participant is asked to donate $20, which is given to several local charities in Hawaii. This year, the race’s sponsored charities are the Special Olympics of West Hawaii and the Visitors Aloha Society of Hawaii. Frey told Big Island News that since the run began 14 years ago, over $100,000 has been raised.