Brave runners made the one-mile dash through downtown Pittsburgh in their skivvies on Saturday afternoon. The Cupid’s Undie Run, an annual charity event benefitting the Children’s Tumor Foundation, followed a route around PNC Park and across the Roberto Clemente Bridge. This year’s sprint was the high point of a raucous afternoon spent by many at McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon. The North Side pub played host for revelers before and after the run. Warmer than usual weather was a welcome change from last year’s extra chilly slog in below freezing temps. (Scroll down to see the full photo gallery.)

The annual Valentine’s Day-themed event is held every year in 35 U.S. cities and four cities in Australia. Cupid’s Undie Run, the world’s largest organized underwear run, has raised more than $10 million for CTF to date.  Pittsburgh’s event raked in more than $260,000 in charitable contributions this year.

Donations benefit research for Neurofibromatosis (NF), a disease that affects nearly one in 3,000 births per year and more than 2 million people worldwide. It causes uncontrolled tumor growth on nerve endings throughout the body and currently has no cure and very few treatments. Many people participating in the Cupid’s Undie Run have children, relatives and friends affected by the disease.

What’s it like to run through downtown in your underwear? “It’s actually a blast,” says Candice Graytok from Greensburg. “By the time you get out there with everyone else, you don’t even know you’re running in your undies anymore . . . it’s so fun.”

Linda Hussar from Butler cheered runners on from the sidelines at the turnaround point on the bridge. She showed up to support her grandson, Jason, who suffers from NF in Texas. The young boy’s parents ran the race in Dallas where they are part of that city’s highest earning team. Linda wanted to offer her support to the Pittsburgh runners, so she brought Jason’s aunt Rita and uncle Keith to help encourage this year’s participants.

A group of friends from AltoonaJoe, Janine, Johnny, and Jasonall running for Joe and Janine’s son, Ryan, embraced the warm weather. “It’s so much better than last year which was freezing.” The team, all decked out in matching “Super Ryan” tees, made the run across the bridge as a happy foursome.

Tom O'Connor

Tom O'Connor is a photographer and writer currently based in Pittsburgh.