Most responded with angry or curious stares.
But one car also honked its horn, and an elderly couple averted their eyes.
Allegan junior Monica Roark and Goodrich senior Marriane Lusty were in the final quarter-mile of their run and were almost nude.
“Yeah, lots of stares, lots of glances,” Lusty said. “We got a lot of weird looks.”
They were participants in the Central Michigan University Undie Run Saturday, an event put on by a group of students for RPL 430: Planning Recreation Programs and Events. They were given the assignment to pick a charity of their choice, develop an event to raise money for that charity and gain support for the event.
The event, modeled after an Arizona State University tradition, challenged students to run its roughly one-mile course within campus, while periodically taking off layers of clothes at five separate checkpoints. The clothes taken off will be donated to the Salvation Army.
The Undie Run lasted from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., with new heats of runners beginning every 10 minutes.
The event raised about $300 and acquired about 275 articles of clothing to donate to the Mount Pleasant Salvation Army with the help of 55 to 60 participants.
However, students were not required to finish the run in their underwear. Students could finish the race in however many layers they felt comfortable in.
Roark and Lusty, though, did finish in their underwear. They also took their time.
“I walked most of it,” Roark said. “(Lusty) was good, though. She waited up for me.”
The experience, despite granting them plenty of strange looks, was worthwhile.
“We’ve never done this before,” Roark said. “But it was a great first.”
It was roughly 30 degrees outside while the run was taking place, meaning students had to brave the cold. For Battle Creek juniors Mile and Pale Belcher, twins, the cold was of little matter. Finishing fast was more important.
“If you take your clothes off early, then you’re faster,” Mile said. “So, if you strip early, you have more of an advantage.”
The Belchers came ahead of the pack on their run, but not all students were as interested in winning or stripping.
Team Tie, a group of Saginaw sophomores who all wore ties to the race, included Natalie Hill, Danielle Sova and Gabriella Hoffman, and they were not in the event for the race.
“This is not a competitive sport,” Hill said. “This is like yoga.”
The team, which wore multiple layers to the race, had a specific strategy for ending the race still protected from the cold.
“No, we’re not going to take all our clothes off,” Sova said. “We’ve had meetings about this. We’ve done planning. This is all planned out.”
Portage junior Allison Bowditch, who participated in planning the event, said the attendance for the Undie Run reached expectations.
“Arizona State started the tradition over there, and we thought it’d be a fun thing to do locally,” Bowditch said. “I think we’ve raised some excitement.”