FOR North Vancouver's Wendy Draper, participating in the Underwear Affair has a special perk.
"You get to run around Vancouver in your underwear," she says with a laugh.
Although she will be running in some tasteful boxers, Draper is quick to point out she is more conservative than some participants, so "There won't be any g-strings or pasties."
The Underwear Affair is an annual five-kilometre fun walk or 10-km run to raise money for below-the-waist cancers, such as ovarian, colorectal, bladder, cervical and testicular, basically any cancer that is in an area covered by underwear.
Proceeds from the event benefit the B.C. Cancer Foundation, which is the fundraising partner of the B.C. Cancer Agency.
"We're not too wild or out there but we'll definitely be in our underwear," says Draper, who is running in a team of 16 coworkers from a Vancouver insurance company under the team name Brokers, Bras and Briefs. Draper is the team captain.
"We work better together when we do things together," she says of running with her colleagues, adding it has been great to watch other people get excited about the event.
Some of her teammates who insisted they would be walking the event are now considering running. One team member has "sold" parts of her body to raise money. She will write the names of the people who bought the parts on her body for the race.
"It's a fun event," says Draper, who participated once before about two years ago. One of the reasons she signed up for the event was because it's unique and not too serious.
However, Draper is also running for another special reason: her friend who passed away from ovarian cancer in 2002. Draper sometimes sat with her friend during chemotherapy treatments to keep her company. Watching what she went through served as inspiration for Draper, who says her friend was the one who first introduced her to fun runs years ago.
"I do it for her, is who I do it for," she says, adding because of her friend's involvement in this type of event she knows it would be something her friend would support. In 2008, Draper also lost her uncle to colon cancer, and says their battles with the disease inspired her to get involved.
Draper plans to run the 10-km race in under an hour. She has been training for the past couple of months, including running a 10-km trail run with her husband at least once a week. She has also been participating in a regular "boot camp" training group for about a year.
Draper plans to keep running after she completes this event, but admits she has a love/hate relationship with running. She says she is basically a lazy person and if she doesn't commit to something she won't do it, so she needs the organized runs to keep her motivated and is already thinking about competing in a half-marathon.
Despite the challenge to stay motivated, Draper had a good reason to start running and it's one that keeps her involved in fitness: "I'm 49 years old and my goal was to not start the next 50 years of my life out of shape."
The Underwear Affair takes place Saturday, July 7. To register or donate, visit www. uncoverthecure.org.