Despite the looming rain, students participated in the IU Alumni Association’s Nearly Naked Mile on Monday as part of Homecoming week.
“This is the fifth year we’ve run it,” said Michelle Loehr, director of the event. “We’re expecting well over 3,000 people. We’re expecting to break records.”
At 6:30 p.m., people began gathering in Dunn Meadow to register for the run.
Participation required a donation of either two articles of clothing or $10.
“We’re partnered with United Way, and all the proceeds go straight there,” Loehr said. “It’s a philanthropy event.”
Those who registered received headbands and a combination whistle, compass and flashlight as well as a wristband.
“The wristband gets you access to the after parties,” Loehr said.
Local establishments including BuffaLouie’s, Jimmy John’s, Campus Candy and Kilroy’s Bar N’ Grill gave discounts later in the night to those who ran in the event.
Early arrivals stripped down and waited in the meadow before the run. Some wore body paint, some carried signs and some sported costumes. People played frisbee and danced to music by the disc jockey in the grass that quickly turned to mud.
Sam Sohn, a sophomore, was excited to participate, clad only in shoes, blue boxer-briefs and a motorcycle helmet. Sohn was carried a cardboard sign with the declaration “Free Dudz.”
“This is one of the greatest events IU has ever held,” he said. “I did it last year, and it was crazy. I think everyone should come out and have a great time.”
Among the more elaborately dressed participants were a banana, a hot dog and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Captain America and Batman made appearances, though they were hesitant to bear it all for the run.
“I don’t want to ruin my secret identity,” the Dark Knight said in his characteristic growl.
Freshmen Lauren Sammons and Sadie Schroeder came to have fun and be part of the IU Homecoming tradition.
“Plus, we wanted to get rid of some clothes,” Schroeder said.
The run officially began at 8 p.m. after the disc jockey and hype man got the runners excited with the song “This is Indiana.”
The route started in Dunn Meadow, traveled up Seventh street, looped around the Showalter Fountain, weaved behind the Indiana Memorial Union and ended at the Sample Gates.
At the end of the race, runners sprayed water bottles on the crowd and started chants of “USA!”
“It’s a great cause,” Sohn said. “You get to donate clothes and have fun. It’s a win-win.”
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