Every year around Valentine’s Day, Cupid’s Undie Run takes place in dozens of cities around the world. Participants run around a mile outdoors in their underwear all in the name of raising funds for The Children’s Tumor Foundation. Last year’s series of events — as sponsored by Bombas, MeUndies, Fathead and Quicken Loans — brought in over $3.5 million, leading to over $11.5 million being raised over the years.
In advance of New York City’s event — which starts at Stage 48 at 12:00 PM on Feb. 18 — Downtown caught up with Chad Leathers, the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Cupid Charities. New York City’s event alone has a fundraising goal of $180,090, of which nearly $50,000 has already been raised. While early registrant fees of $35 are still in effect, New Yorkers John Risner and Sharon Parente will be matching all donations of $50 or more.
How would you describe the event to someone who hasn’t yet attended?
Chad Leathers: It is truly indescribable. Nothing can prepare you for standing in a public place with nothing on and the temps are somewhere near freezing. It is a rush and very unifying at the same time. In short, it feels like a giant party with a crazy run in the middle of it. You feel like some sort of celebrity when you’re out in the street and people are stopping and honking their horns and waving. It is a show-stopper for sure.
Has the event changed at all since launching?
CL: Not much. It is still driven by the local communities, and as one of our volunteer race directors said, “This is a party that throws itself.”
Have you heard of any people meeting at Cupid’s Undie Run and starting a new relationship?
CL: A LOT. Think of it this way, this event acts as a giant filter for some truly amazing people. You have to be somewhat adventurous and outgoing, you’re rather exposed, and it’s for charity.
Do you have a favorite part of the event?
CL: If you’ve ever seen the original National Lampoon’s Vacation, where Chevy Chase is clapping his hands and saying, “This is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy…” That moment happens every year at every event and it is my favorite part every time.
The amount raised from the 2013 event was well over $1 million. What caused that big jump in money raised? Expansion into other cities?
CL: Some incredibly brave, thrill-seeking, do-gooders that wanted to bring Cupid’s to their city. Our expansion has always been organic and driven by those who are excited to do something great AND just this side of legal!
Do you have any goals for the event? Hopes to expand into more cities?
CL: My main goal this year is for our runners and donors to understand the impact they can make on someone else’s life.
Besides Cupid’s Undie Run, what are you currently working on?
CL: A six-pack…but I’ve been unsuccessful for 32 years!
So when not working, how do you like to spend your free time?
CL: Building furniture, watching the Georgia Bulldogs and skiing.
Finally, Chad, any last words for the kids?
CL: The best advice I ever received was “successful people make more opportunities than they find. Something is always broken, or could be done better, it is up to you to think through the problem and find the solution that no one else has.”