Stripping for charity

[media-credit name=”Crystal Charriere” align=”alignnone” width=”300″][/media-credit]More than 200 people stood outside in their underwear in 40-degree weather on Friday night. At 11:11 p.m., they started running.

These people were gathered for a charity event, the Nearly Naked Mile. The event was meant to help gather food for the Weber Cares Pantry and clothing for Veterans Services. The clothes, in many cases, came right off the donor’s back. When the runners started the race, many tore off their shirts and shorts they were wearing to keep warm, and threw them in a giant pile of clothes being donated to the center.

“What better title to bring students out to an amazing event? ‘Nearly naked’ just sums it all up,” said Lee Naylor, president of the Student Alumni Association.

The Nearly Naked Mile first started last year, and was created by the Student Alumni Association, and the student senate also got involved. Its first year had only about 80 runners; this year, the number of runners increased to more than 200.

The people who ran varied in what they wore as they ran. Some only wore their underwear, while others dressed in shorts and a shirt. A few people even wore wigs as they ran.

“I like being naked,” said Matt Sutherland. “I’ll take any excuse to get naked.”

Sutherland was one of the runners in the mile. He donated some food instead of his clothes because he wanted to have something to wear on his way home.

Matt Hamilton said he was there for a similar reason. “Any opportunity to get half naked, I take the chance.”

Hamilton ran while wearing only a robe. He donated two cans of food, chili and diced tomatoes.

“If someone says, ‘Matt, take your shirt off,’ I’ll say, ‘Here’s a can of food.’ If they say, ‘Take off your pants,’ that’s another can of food.”

This was Hilary Robertson’s first time running in a race like this, even though she is a student athlete. She ended up running the mile in less than six minutes.

“I loved it,” Robertson said. “My favorite part was the thrill of passing people, because the first hundred people got a shirt.”

Caroline Dow also said she enjoyed passing people during the race.

“I just had a kid, and I beat all of them,” she said, pointing at her group of five other people. She was one of the first people to finish the mile.

The event was over in less than an hour. Many of the runners mentioned how they enjoyed the course and how easy it was because it was mostly downhill, making their times shorter than they would have been otherwise. They started running the course outside the Swenson Gym and ended at the Alumni Center. There, all the runners and organizers met for donuts and hot chocolate and a raffle. The prizes consisted of gift certificates for different restaurants.

“It’s an opportunity to give back and to have a good time,” said runner Jeff Jones.