SALT LAKE CITY — An annual event where thousands of Utahns run in their underwear is scheduled to take place at the same time as the LDS General Conference next month.
The organizer said the timing is a coincidence and explains he had to move the date because of permit issues.
“I didn’t start this to do anything more than to have fun, poke at Utah for being a little stuffy at times and to do what is really a good charity event where we get thousands and thousands of articles of clothing donated,” said Nate Porter, who is the event organizer.
Utah’s Undie Run started small but quickly grew, breaking a Guinness world record last year; 4,000 people ran the streets of Salt Lake City in nothing but their skivvies in 2012.
A fun-filled event has become complicated for Porter, who claims the Salt Lake City Police Department is charging him $4,000 for a permit, three times as much in years past.
“I asked why, and the response was, ‘Well, we had some issues last year,’” he said. “And my response to that was, ‘Well, there was no arrests, there was no vandalism, no issues really happened last year what’s the need for all these extra officers?’ and they really wouldn’t give me an answer to that,” Porter said.
Porter was also forced to change the date of the run several times.
“The original date was September 22nd, which was this coming Sunday, and we have just moved it to Sunday October 6,” he said.
It’s the same day thousands of LDS faithful will be wearing their Sunday best.
“I think that’s phenomenal; people may think that’s deliberate,” said Leah Leavitt, who doesn’t take part in the Undie Run.
“I can see why that would be problematic in Utah, said Tasia Jensen, who thinks the run is a great opportunity to bring the community together.
Porter said there’s no hidden meaning behind the date; the timing is just a coincidence.
“I’ve been downtown on General Conference, and I’ve seen other protests in other forms, we’re the least of their worries,” he said.
This year’s run has also been renamed. A company out of California, The Dew LLC, owns the trademark to “Undie Run”, so the name will be changed to “Utah Undiewear Run.”
SLPD still has to approve Porter’s permit, but he said even if they don’t the run will go on as a protest instead.
This year’s run is free of charge and won’t include music or DJ’s.