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The early years: Undy 5000 (2008-2009)

April 12, 2011


Dr. Mark Pochapin shows his Undy spirit at the first-ever Undy 5000!

On September 27, 2008, the first-ever Undy 5000 takes place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With 480 participants, the Philly Undy 5000 raised almost $130,000 in the fight against colon cancer! The race included an opening ceremony with remarks from Dr. Mark Pochapin, Director of the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health. This Undy even boasted a juggler and a group of uniform-clad singers. Since 2008, Philadelphia has consistently brought in more than $100,000 – the only city to do so without ever hitting 1,000 runners.

Participants show off their costumes at the inaugural Dallas Undy 5000!

Dallas’ inaugural Undy 5000 was on Halloween in 2008, so it was quite the sight, what with hundreds of individuals in either costumes or their underwear… or costumes in their underwear! The 500 participants who participated in 2008 brought in $65,000, and just to show what kind of records Dallas likes to set, the runs to follow would bring in close to $200,000 combined! We’re excited to see what happens in 2011. 

In November 2008, Phoenix’s Undy 5000 was the first to reach 1,000 participants! With the help of the Arizona Department of Health Services, the Phoenix Undy has continued to break participation records. Check out this video from the 2nd Annual Phoenix Undy in 2009, courtesy of AZDHS.


In 2009, the Undy 5000 series expanded to include five cities, including the original three, as well as Denver and St. Louis!

The 2009 Denver Undy 5000 brought in more than $100,000 and here, the Colorado Cancer Coalition – the CCA’s local screening partner for the Denver Undy –  premiered this video, created by South Park writers and the Colorectal Task Force media and awareness team. Coming up on it’s 3rd year on June 25, Denver has been one of the most active and creative cities, and one of our favorites to visit. This picture should explain why:

Some runners, a monkey wearing underwear and a banana participate in the Denver Undy!


St. Louis' "Jammin' with John!"

St. Louis is another high-energy race that always sets participation records. This past March, St. Louis had 1,400 runners – yes, ONE THOUSAND AND FOUR HUNDRED – our highest participation ever! Every year, the race is held sometime in March to celebrate Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and every year, the temperatures barely break freezing. Despite sn-rain (that’s a combination of snow and rain, of course) the first year, and the threat of sn-rain consecutive years, runners still show up, ready to fight colon cancer! And for this, we always have a special place in our heart for St. Louis. 🙂

Stay tuned for the 2010-2011 Undy 5000 highlights, coming soon!

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