Sasha Gonzalez ran down University Avenue across from Midtown wearing nothing but her underwear twice before, but she said the third time was still “weird.”
Guys in button downs and girls in heels gawked from outside the strip’s clubs and bars as Gonzalez and a few hundred other runners sprinted across UF’s campus and down University Avenue wearing garments like bras, boy shorts and boxers Friday night as part of the 15th Great Underwear Dash.
Gonzalez, a 20-year-old political science junior who wore a cheetah-patterned bra, said the experience is always unique.
“You get to run around in your underwear — you don’t get to do this any other day,” she said.
Gonzalez said this year’s run looked “a little emptier” than previous runs, though. More than 950 people responded on Facebook that they would attend the event, but the turnout looked to be less than half that number.
Runners wearing Mardi Gras beads, cardboard boxes, Superman ensembles, bedazzled bras, camouflage pants and military boots arrived on Turlington Plaza and stripped down to their underwear, tossing clothing in a pile on the middle of the plaza. The clothes, gathered in 24 trash bags, were donated to St. Francis House, a Gainesville homeless shelter and soup kitchen.
Runners’ cheeks bounced as they tore down University Avenue across from Midtown. Cars honked and students came out of Buckman Hall to watch the procession.
Zak Bedell, a 20-year-old civil engineering junior, ran in pink-and-white-striped boxer shorts while juggling. He said he’s been participating in the event every Fall and Spring since a friend invited him freshman year.
“It’s a good cause,” he said. “Plus it’s really fun to say you’ve ran around campus juggling glowing balls in your underwear.”
Participants in the Fall 2012 Underwear Dash strip off their clothes, which will be donated to St. Francis House, a Gainesville homeless shelter and soup kitchen. About 24 trash bags of clothing were donated.