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The Real Kona Race

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I’m lucky to be spending the week in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii for the Ironman Triathlon World Championship. And while the athletes competing on Saturday are surely some of the most talented endurance specialists on the planet, another Kona race gives the Ironman a run for its money in terms of pure entertainment value. Kona 2010 019The Underpants Run started 13 years ago as a spoof of the numerous triathletes who parade around Kona during Ironman race week clad in skimpy Speedos and too-tight Lycra. While the run initially attracted only a few dozen participants, it has grown substantially, with several hundred scantily clothed runners thronging the streets of the mile-long course each year. Many industry companies produce special panties specifically for the event, and it seems the costumes get more and more outrageous each October. So while the Ironman athletes rest up for the week’s main event, the undie runners take center stage for a brief (pun fully intended) moment, fueled by bare-it-all bravery and fits of laughter. Kona 2010 021
– Holly Bennett