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Cupid's Undie Run participants brave cold for Children's Tumor Foundation

Christina Mrukowicz (left) waits for Andrew Pennette to get their coats out of a plastic bag after Cupid's Undie Run.
Christina Mrukowicz (left) waits for Andrew Pennette to get their coats out of a plastic bag after Cupid's Undie Run.
Alonso del Arte

At least they didn't have to jump into cold water. Despite the temperature being below freezing on February 15, 2014, the day after Valentine's Day, hundreds of runners, some wearing only underpants, ran around Grand Circus Park downtown to raise money for the Children's Tumor Foundation as part of the second annual Cupid's Undie Run in Detroit.

"It's very cold, hard to breathe," said Andrew Pennette of Ann Arbor. For the run, he wore a light gray skull cap, undershirt, undershorts, socks and shoes. His girlfriend, Christina Mrukowicz of Shelby Township, wore slightly more clothing, but was still under-dressed for the weather. This was their first time participating in the run, but if they had ran last year, they would have found the weather scarcely warmer.

However, there have been more extremes of cold weather this year than last year, which raised concerns that the run might have to be postponed or canceled in the days leading up to the event. So far this month there has been at least one day with negative temperature on the Fahrenheit scale, and Mrukowicz acknowledged humans are at least partially responsible for climate change. "There's got to be something we can do to at least slow it down," she said.

They each raised $40 to help the Children's Tumor Foundation on their quest to end neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that "causes tumors to grow on nerves," according to the National Institutes of Health. "Everything counts," said David Telega, an analyst at Quicken Loans who was invited through work to participate in the run.

Quicken Loans founder and chairman Dan Gilbert "is matching everything," Telega asserted. (Quicken Loans is the very first sponsor listed for the run.) Telega raised $200, which Gilbert will match. Telega wore a white hat, white sunglasses, white bowtie, beads, a black undershirt, Valentine's Day-themed underpants, socks and shoes. "It was so much fun," he said, "I will definitely come back next year."

Most runners came with coats to the event, which they stashed in clear plastic bags at the Fillmore before they ran.

The run also took place in several other cities in the United States, including Chicago and Cleveland, as well as three cities in Australia. The event raised $203,192 in Detroit, according to a page on the run's website.

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