Caught with My Pants Down: My First-Hand Account of the Century Tuna Underpants Run

When I learned that the Century Tuna Underpants Run will be its own event to be held in Manila, a part of me was dismayed as I’ve always associated the event with the Ironman.  But at the back of my mind, I still had some hope that the Ironman tradition would still stick around, and days before the first full-distance Ironman event in country, I was not disappointed!

Taken shortly after gun start.

The Century Tuna Underpants Run had always been one of those crazy events that somehow serve to break the tension of a forthcoming Ironman by bringing out the crazy and creative size of the participants.  Even the origin of this event is strongly tied to the Ironman so I guess I was naïve even think that Century Tuna would let the original Underpants Run go, especially that this year’s Ironman is a very special one.  It’s the tenth year of Ironman in the Philippines and it’s our first time having a full-distance Ironman.

I only learned that the original Century Tuna Underpants Run would be pushing through days prior to the event.  And with me having the busiest days of my corporate life ever, I did not have enough time to plan on what to wear.  And as I also was not able to do my laundry for the past few weeks due to travel, I didn’t have that many options as to what I can wear either.  On the bright side, my choices of what to wear were narrowed down significantly!  Eventually, I brought a few underwear options and bought some more from a mall before heading to Subic.  I was still undecided on what to wear.

We arrived in our hotel in Subic early morning of Saturday—the day of the Underpants Run.  Being part of the media covering the events and activities of the Ironman weekend, my day would start very early to cover the Alaska Ironkids.  We would not have enough time to return to our hotel once we left to cover the events, so I have to leave with my outfit for the Underpants Run.  I still haven’t finalized what I’d wear then, and I just took whatever sleep time I can get before our very early call time.

This year’s Century Tuna Underpants Run started in front of SBECC.

After about two hours of sleep, it was time for us to prepare to leave the hotel.  And I also needed to pick what I’d wear for the Underpants Run, quick!  Crazy as it sounds, but I actually tried on all the underwear that I brought to pick my theme.  One of the “costume” I thought of wearing is inspired by Captain Underpants, a character that I think has one of the most interesting origin story, so I bought a white briefs and boxer briefs for this occasion.  Unfortunately, I realized that wearing plain colored underwear revealed so much more details than I’m willing to share to the public (at least in my case).  This is true most especially for white, and I was still dry and stationary when I realized this so you could just imagine how scandalous that may be during the Underpants Run!  Thus, all plain-colored underwear was out of the selection and in the end, I picked the red brief that I brought that had all these prints that (hopefully) hides some of the relevant anatomical details.

After our coverage of the Alaska Ironkids event, it was time for us to head to Subic Bay Exhibition & Convention Center (SBECC) where this year’s Century Tuna Underpants Run will be starting from.  Even if I was doing it for the second time, I was still very anxious, and I think even more so this year as I know more people this year on the starting line!  I hanged on to my clothes until that very last moment I really had to lose them.  Joining me as well on this crazy fun run are some of my friends from the running/blogging community, RoselleRunning Diva,” whom I coerced to join (making this her first Underpants Run ever!), and NoelleKikay Runner” who’s a “veteran” of this run.

At the starting line…

This year’s starting line of the Century Tuna Underpants Run was as crazy as the years before it and as always, we had the winners from the Century Tuna Superbods joining us to run.  The attendees were noticeably smaller than last year (as many would’ve already had their fill with the event of the same name held a few months back in Metro Manila or didn’t know that this was still a thing) but we still had some folks that stood out in their well-planned costumes.  What was noticeably missing from the run were the elites but that’s completely understandable as the event the day after in a full-distance Ironman.  Still, there were many crazy Ironman participants (many doing a full-distance) who joined us for this crazy tradition.

The Underpants Run at 2018 Century Tuna Ironman Philippines.
Courtesy Multisport PH on YouTube

I think the crazy thing that I did on this event (aside from running just in my briefs) was having coffee as my last drink and starting a bit thirsty.  It was an unbelievably hot day and I immediately felt dehydrated the moment we started.  But then again, there were so many cameras so smile like there’s no tomorrow.  I survived three kilometers last year on practically the same predicament so I can survive this again—the thoughts on my head as I ran under that scorching sun with dry lips and throat.  But as I knew that there’s enough finisher’s shirts this time (my motivation to run in my underpants), I knew I didn’t have to run as hard as last year, and so I did ease up.  Running three kilometers with no water while most of your body is exposed to the heat while maintaining a smile is no easy feat!

The participants of the underpants come in all shapes and sizes exposing as much skin as they comfortably can in the name of fun!
Courtesy Century Tuna IRONMAN Philippines
One of the very few close shots of myself at this year’s Century Tuna Underpants Run.
Courtesy Alan Fabricante

In the end, it’s all about fun (even if some folks really ran like their livelihood depended on it!) and that rush you feel from running just in your underpants.  I admit I was a bit uncomfortable this time as I wasn’t as prepared as before in terms of my outfit, I haven’t worked out for at least two weeks prior to the event due to work, and I was running just in my briefs.  But had I backed out of running in my underwear and chosen a more “conservative” outfit (short shorts or tights), I guess I wouldn’t have enjoyed as much and would’ve lost the “essence” of the run.  Kudos to all the “brave” souls that went all out for the Underpants Run!

That look when you realize that you’re in front of someone you know and you’re just in your underwear!
Courtesy John Henri Mariano

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This was the skimpiest attire I’ve worn on a run so far—does it count as a new personal best?

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