Have you ever wanted to feel more liberated than ever before while raising money for a good cause? Cupid’s Undie Run, the nationwide run in support of a cure for neurofibromatosis is happening tomorrow, Saturday February 10th, in Pittsburgh. The organization is taking registrations up until a half hour before the run, which starts at McFadden’s at 1:30 p.m. We caught up with Brooke Marie Bissell, race director to tell us a little bit more about Cupid’s Undie Run.
PITTSBURGH BEAUTIFUL: Tell us a little more about Cupid’s Undie Run.
BROOKE MARIE BISSELL: We are in our eighth year. What we do is raise money for a children’s tumor foundation to fund a cure and research for neurofibromatosis. The run is just over a mile in your underwear, we call it a “brief” run—get it? The runner cutoff is usually 1,000 but that varies by city. We are currently in 33 cities around the U.S. In Pittsburgh, we’ll start at McFadden’s and run around PNC Park over the Clemente Bridge and then back.
PB: How did the event start in Pittsburgh?
BB: I know that it was brought here five years ago. The former race director knew a lot of people in the area who were affected by NF. People will sometimes line the streets and cheer because it really is a spectacle to see.
PB: I saw the event is to help prevent neurofibromatosis. Can you tell us a little more about that?
BB: There are two kinds. NF-1 tumors attack the inside of the body like the optic nerve and vocal chords and is more common. With NF-2, people have tumors growing on the outside with bumps on their skin and bodies and skin discoloration. NF affects one in 3,000 births. It is genetic and many can have the gene now and pass the disease on to their children. Life expectancy varies, but with NF-1 it is typically shorter.
PB: Are the runs traditionally held in the winter to make things a little more “fun?”
BB: They are all held around Valentine’s Day and have always been since day one in D.C. where the run started.
PB: What makes you want to run personally?
BB: I have run in the past. My friend’s son has NF, that’s how I learned of the run. Also, since it isn’t a race but just a run there are prizes for fundraising, not for finishing first.
PB: Can you share some feedback from runners who did the race for the first time?
BB: 75 percent of people are repeat runners. Some do it one time to say they did it but most people run because they have family or friends with NF.
PB: What if people don’t want to run or can’t run? How can they get involved?
BB: They can volunteer and donate and they’re welcome to come out and cheer on our runners.