If you go

What: Boulder Underpants Run

When: 4:20 p.m. gathering, 5:30 p.m. start time, July 31

Where: Start at Boulder Running Company, 2775 Pearl St.

Cost: $10 suggested donation for Boulder EXPAND programming, development of running facilities at Valmont City Park

More info: facebook.com/BoulderUnderpantsRun

From his 20 years of racing experience, retired professional triathlete Michael Lovato has seen first-hand how seriously his racing peers take themselves.

Ahead of Boulder's inaugural Ironman in August, he wanted fellow triathletes to loosen up a bit, so he's organizing an undergarments-only fun run called the Boulder Underpants Run three days before the big race.

"A big part of it for me is this really forces you to not take yourself too seriously and to kind of make fun of the nerdy aspects of our sport, from Speedos to heart-rate monitors to compression socks," he said.

The run is modeled after an annual event held ahead of the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, every year.

The 1.5-mile run will start at the Boulder Running Company and pause somewhere along the Pearl Street Mall for some strategically placed stretches — squats, hip thrusts and others that give runners a chance to show off their skivvies, Lovato said.


Lovato, who's completed more than 30 full-length Ironmans, first experienced the undies run before a race at the Ironman World Championships — a pressure cooker for athletes.

"You see a lot of people wrap themselves up in bubblewrap and try not to touch anyone or see anyone, " he said. "The first year I did (the underpants run), we went out there and I got a Top 10 finish at Kona. I was just completely relaxed."

The race is also a fun diversion for athletes who traveled to Boulder for the race and need a way to kill time that isn't too hard on their bodies, he said.

Because it's the first year, Lovato said he doesn't know how many people to expect, but he'd be happy if a sizeable group got together to parade on Pearl Street.

Though the race is free, Lovato said he hopes people will give a $10 suggested donation, which will go toward developing running facilities at Valmont City Park and to Boulder EXPAND programming for people with disabilities.

At Kona, Lovato said he's seen everything from giant tighty-whities shared by two kids to the infamous get-up worn by Sacha Baron Cohen in the movie "Borat" — a lime green thong bikini bottom with the straps worn over the shoulders.

Runners are encouraged to wear as many gadgets and training tools as possible, he added.

"While you get some people that will go out there and look kind of sexy or look kind of good, some people will just be as ridiculous as possible," he said.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Sarah Kuta at 303-473-1106, kutas@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/sarahkuta.