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UCLA Undie Run 2007 - Bonus Photo Essay

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Need More Undie Run Photos? Check these out: The Best of 2006-2008 | Summer 2008 | Winter 2008 | Spring 2007 | Fall 2007, Part 1 | Fall 2007, Part 2 | Winter 2007, Part 1 | Winter 2007, Part 2 | Winter 2007, Part 3 | Fall 2006, Part 1 | Fall 2006, Part 2 | USC's Spring 2007 Fountain Run (for good measure)

Spring? Sprung. Let me start by saying that I feel downright filthy in Westwood. Having spent 7 years obtaining 2 degrees from the University of Southern California and its law school, my discomfort is hopefully understandable. When I got my first LAist assignment, to cover the UCLA Undie Run, I was entertained and yet conflicted to say the least. I went and checked some of the photos from the previous year's event, which apparently is a tradition where students run across campus in their underwear at the culmination of finals week. Roughly 5,000 students.

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In college, and with enough alcohol in one's system, it is certainly understandable that people are going to want to run around naked. When I was a senior at USC, I made the mistake of getting skunked at foosball, a pastime at which I was never proficient, 10-0. The standard humiliation for such a failure was, and hopefully still is, a naked run down the length of 28th Street between Figueroa and Hoover. Wearing nothing but a killer pair of New Balances, I sprinted in front of the rows of sorority and fraternity houses that line 28th Street at around midnight on a Saturday. When I crossed University Ave. though, dead center of The Row, I caught the toe of my right shoe and ate shit spectacularly into the asphalt. It must have been quite a site, a virtual train-wreck of skin, pavement, and blood. I picked my big ass up, finished the run, and didn't get arrested. So the night was a success, not counting of course the subsequent hangover and full battery of mystery abrasions, lacerations, and contusions I discovered the next morning. I am hoping that tonight's participants, or shall we call them victims, fair better than I did. Accomplishing such a result, fortunately, will require a level of competence only slightly higher than tying one's shoes, so I am not expecting to see any senseless bloodshed.

So here I am in this unholy place, and I am here to photograph college co-eds jogging in their underwear. It's somewhere on the spectrum of the surreal between a dream that verges on nightmarish and eating 10 hits of acid and heading to Disneyland. It should be fun, but it could get a little weird. Hopefully the ubiquity of digital cameras in our society will trump the fact that, some 10 years older than my subjects and fully clothed, I might as well be a dirty old man in a raincoat taking spank photos.

So with several hours to kill before checking out the festivities, I decided to check out one of the fine local watering holes in Westwood, O'Hara's. Formerly Maloney's, a mainstay of the Bruin student body during my day as an undergraduate, this basic sports bar about a block from campus serves up predictable pub fare. The wings are decent and the beer is cold, so I am happy. I do find it odd that a place like this, so close to campus, is dead at 10:00. I am starting to think that finals aren't over yet. Either that or the Bruins are a bunch of pussies who haven't discovered beer yet. I have been in this very location several times and have seen collegiate shenanigans at their finest, so I am going to go with the former. I am thinking that the real hardcore heads are getting in their unmentionables, chugging Jaegermeister, and running through sheets of plate glass right now. Those kids get a pass in my book.

I just found out that the starting point of the 2007 Undie Run was changed at the last minute due to concerns about potential "noise and property damage". Now I am officially excited. Instead of well-wishers handing out bottles of water and Gatorade, I am sort of expecting other drunks without the guts to actually nude up to be handing out bong hits and Solo cups full of Bud Lite.

I hear a crowd in the distance, as in a really large crowd a couple of blocks away. Ambulance crews have stationed themselves in the corners of Bruin plaza. There are a few people milling around, but no real signs of a full-fledged ruckus as of yet. Well except maybe the paramedics, but that's pretty standard I would imagine.