Thursday | December 14, 2017
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Letting it all hang out at Ironman: Underpants Run draws a crowd

KAILUA-KONA — Whether they were participating solo or in teams, runners were either hardly dressed or dressed to impress for the annual Underpants Run.

Hundreds of men, women and children gathered at the King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel on Thursday morning for the jaunt down to Uncle Billy’s Kona Bay Hotel on Alii Drive in Kalua-Kona. The run added to the energy and excitement that’s been building toward the 39th annual Ironman World Championship on Saturday in which 2,400 athletes will participate.

Many running in the Underpants Run event are at Ironman as spectators or volunteers.

Kathryn Coiner-Collier and Chasse Bailey-Dorton, both of North Carolina, were dressed as Little Bo Peeps with pale pink corsets, white lingerie-type shirts and bonnets. This is the first time the women are volunteering for the race in Hawaii.

Coiner-Collier said she’s always wanted to come to Ironman on the Big Island.

“It’s been a dream for me,” she said. “I probably won’t ever qualify with my times so this is the next best thing.”

Coiner-Collier has volunteered in registration. She will also do body marking and be a finish line catcher.

Bailey-Dorton is working in the medical tent. She said she works with cancer survivors. She added there are many groups at Ironman not just to participate in the race, but to support cancer fighting causes by using the famous race as a venue to help achieve those goals.

Both women say they’re happy to be here. Bailey-Dorton said the local people have been fantastic.

“We’re already planning for next year,” Coiner-Collier said.

Next time, Coiner-Collier said, they plan to bring sheep.

Chrissy Wilkinson of Australia was dressed as Wonder Woman. This is her first Ironman and Underpants Run. She said she came to support her partner who is running in Saturday’s race.

“It’s amazing,” Wilkinson said of the Ironman events. “You can feel the excitement building every day.”

Wilkinson said she decided to dress as the DC Comics heroine because her significant other has always wanted a Wonder Woman.

“I am his Wonder Woman,” she said.

Michael Marzec of Chicago rocked a spiky red wig and nearly nothing else for Thursday’s run.

For the past 11 or 12 years, Marzec has volunteered for the Ironman. This is his 10th Underpants Run in Kona

“We love the Big Island,” Marzec said. “We love everything about it — the ambiance, the people, the scenery.”

At least two teams representing women’s sportswear ran with the horde of underdressed. One of those groups was Coeur Sports.

Allison Gomez of Santa Clara, California, was sporting a sports bra and spandex shorts. She described the clothing as a women-specific triathlon brand.

Founder of the company, Kebby Holden, said all the girls running in the Underpants Run are ambassadors for the brand encouraging people to get involved in the sport.

“What better way to meet people than in your underwear,” Holden said with a smile.

Candace White of Japan was part of a running team sporting clothing made by Betty Designs. She said the brand is supporting strong women and about inclusion.

“It’s modern-day girl power,” she said.

White is here as a spectator and to train for a triathlon in Arizona.

This year’s Ironman is the largest race since its inception with 66 countries, territories and regions represented. At 6:35 a.m. Saturday, starting with the professional men’s start, the more than 2,400 competitors will take on the legendary 140.6-mile course.


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