The sky was clear, but 11.5 mph winds at 68-degree temperatures combined to create unfavorable conditions for aspiring underwear runners.
The second annual UC Davis Undie Run occurred Friday at approximately 8:30 p.m., though the turn out was lower than expected.
Despite boasting 880 members on the Facebook group and a turnout of over 150 people last year, less than 60 people came out this year.
“Maybe it was the weather, or bad timing, or a bad day of the week,” said Michael Veliz, first-year music major and one of the event organizers. “I’m real disappointed in the turnout, but everybody who did come out had fun, and that’s the point.”
But although turnout was low, the die-hards still showed up.
“If there was a tornado, we’d be here,” said Allie Sheets, a first-year psychology major. “It’s like a mini Davis adventure.”
Some would have run in even more extreme weather conditions.
“I wish it was raining,” said Melissa Randel, a senior biotechnology major. “Wetter is always better.”
Despite low attendance, participants remained enthusiastic about the event.
“This is the most naked that Davis is going to see me,” said Jessica Li, a first-year human development and women’s studies major.
“I feel accomplished,” said Roth Wiedrick, first-year electrical engineering major. “This is a good break from finals and an opportunity to blow off some steam and get some exercise. I love the college life.”
The run was approximately 1 mile long. Runners went down First Street, turning north on B Street to Russell Boulevard, and running to the encouraging shouts of patrons of local businesses.
“I thought we got a lot of good support from the community,” Li said. “The people at Delta of Venus were yelling at us, and the people at Ciocolat.”
From Russell Boulevard, the runners turned south on Howard Way, past the bus station and around the Memorial Union to finish on the Quad where the Vietnamese Cultural Show was taking place.
“[It’s] not something you see every day,” said Khou Nguyen, senior managerial economics major, at the Vietnamese cultural show. “I think it definitely adds to the diversity of the campus lifestyle.”
Davis police monitored the event to ensure the safety of the runners and to deter nudity.
“I like the police presence better because it eliminates the risk of getting arrested or hit by a car,” said Emily Lehman, a sophomore American studies major.
This year’s smaller turnout did not hinder Veliz’s determination to ingrain the Undie Run into Davis culture.
“I’m definitely not giving up on the run,” Veliz said. “We’re going to be there next year whether 25 people show up or 150 people show up.”
In order to increase attendance, advertising efforts will be extended beyond Facebook, and the possibility of flyers, poster boards and writing on chalkboards in classrooms were discussed, Veliz said.
Veliz was the architect of UCD’s first Undie Run in 2007 and said that beside his involvement in a fraternity, the Undie Run is the main way that he connects with the campus.
“Ideally, we want to get [the run] to the point where we don’t have to organize it or advertise for it,” Veliz said. “We want it to be a thing where people just show up this time of year because it’s understood that on this day, [UC Davis students] run in our underwear.”
Participants were enthusiastic about participating in the run again in the future, and plans are already under way for the 2009 Undie Run.
CHARLES HINRIKSSON can be reached at email@example.com.