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Students to run in skivvies for Salvation Army

By Russell Axon
On August 29, 2012

The second annual Nearly Naked Mile run will start at 6 p.m. in McComas Village tomorrow.

The event is sponsored by the UT chapter of Order of Omega, and it will serve as a clothing drive for the Salvation Army. Participants will bring gently-used clothing to donate before running through campus.

Order of Omega President Julia Baird said the event is unique way to give back to the community.

“You kind of come out bundled up ... and then you take off your layers and run,” the senior majoring in exercise science said.

The course will head towards Rocket Hall, turn towards International House, make a right at the Center for Performing Arts, cross the Ottawa River, head up the steps by the Glass Bowl Stadium, and finish back in McComas.

The “nearly naked” aspect comes from the idea of students arriving in their donation clothes and then removing them before the start of the race.

Trophies and prizes will be awarded to the fastest man and woman runners, as well as the fraternity or sorority with the biggest donation.

Students expecting scenes out of an “American Pie” movie may be disappointed, though.

Since the event is on campus, a minimum clothing requirement exists. Women must wear at least a sports bra and gym shorts; men can do the same, but at least the latter is required.

Nick Lieswyn, the event planner, said participants can run in whatever they feel comfortable wearing.

“We’re not going to require anyone to be ‘nearly naked,’” the senior finance major said. “If they just want to come and run in their long pants and a sweatshirt, they can ... [it’s] up to them.”

While other universities and organizations hold similar events, like a Bikini Run, Baird said Order of Omega wasn’t interested in people being scantily clad.

“We didn’t necessarily want people to feel like they needed to come out there in a bikini,” she said.

Lieswyn said nudity is definitely not an option.

“We made sure everyone knew what the clothing requirement was,” he said. “If people come naked, we’ll obviously have to tell them to put some clothes on.”

Baird laughed when stating that even Speedos will be off limits.

“I think that might be bad PR for both our organization and just the campus in general,” she said.

Lieswyn said a lack of clothing wasn’t a problem at last year’s event, where he placed first among the men.

“Unfortunately, it wasn’t a really huge event last year,” he said.

According to Baird, about 25 to 50 people ran in the first Nearly Naked Mile. She said poor advertising and chilly weather affected the attendance.

“[This year,] I’m hoping to get more people involved,” she said.

Order of Omega’s marketing campaign for the event included advertisements in the residence halls and word-of-mouth between multiple organizations.

Baird said she would be “thrilled” if over 150 people participated in this year’s event.

Lieswyn shares a similar goal.

“Hopefully it’s more of campus-wide event,” he said.

While detractors may see this as a risqué event, Lieswyn said UT administrators didn’t have any issues with it, and the approval process went “pretty smooth.”

“Maybe if it were later at night, then they could be a little worried,” he joked.

Baird said the university knows the event is for a good cause, not something which will embarrass the community.

“It’s not the stereotypical Greek sprint in nothing,” she said.

Lieswyn said this year’s Nearly Naked Mile is successful and sets a strong standard for future events.

“Our goal is just to improve it every year to the point where ... [it’s] a yearly event that everyone looks forward to,” he said. “There aren’t many other events like it.”

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