Run across the Cambie Bridge in nothing but your undies? More than 100 brave souls did just that on Sunday, dropping their trousers for a good cause.
With the moustache gods smiling down on the inaugural Saxx Undie Run, organized by the Movember Foundation, participants drew honks and hollers as they scampered down West 2nd Avenue in the Olympic Village, across the Cambie Bridge and back around on the seawall, clad in nothing but their underwear, shoes, and the occasional sunglasses.
Alex Breese, whose grandfather survived prostate cancer, laced up with a couple of buddies.
“Men’s health is important,” he said at Brewhall, where runners mustered before the run, fortifying themselves with pints of beer. “It’s something we don’t really talk about enough. Today is a good event to raise awareness.”
Also at the bar were Joe Siriban and Kseniya Gavris, preparing for the 2½-kilometre route with shots of fireball.
“It looked like a really fun thing to do,” said Gavris, one of a handful of women participating in the undie run. Added Siriban: “It’s a good excuse to run half-naked.”
Despite the lighthearted mood at the event, most participants — including Siriban and Gavris, who work as oncology nurses and encounter people with prostate cancer on a regular basis — were aware it’s not all fun and games.
Movember, which started in 2003 in Australia after group of lads challenged each other to grow a moustache for November, may have had a frivolous start, but has grown into a worldwide movement highlighting men’s health.
It is best known for its campaign on prostate cancer, but has expanded its work to include testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.
“A lot of people know Movember for fun and moustaches and people running around in their underwear,” said Mitch Hermansen with the Movember Foundation. “This is the visibility we are trying to bring to these serious issues, and have fun while doing it.”
There has been improvements in prostate cancer awareness in recent years, but more work needs to be done on men’s mental health, he said.
“Three-fourths of all suicides are actually by men,” said Hermansen. “Men are not the best at talking and opening up about these kinds of stuff.”
Since 2003, the Movember Foundation has helped fund 1,200 innovative projects across more than 20 countries.