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Would You Run in a Dress For Charity?

Our brave, philanthropy-minded writer is taking one for the team—literally—by suiting up in a size-24 bridesmaid's dress to raise awareness and funds for his favorite non-profit organization.

When I’m training for a 5K, the music in my head is far more likely to be the Rocky theme or “Eye of the Tiger” than the Macarena or Electric Slide. All that is about to change. 

 Tomorrow, I’m scheduled to sprint down a one-mile wedding aisle in Manhattan’s Runaway Bridesmaids charity race. The rules are simple: Run as fast as you can and do it while wearing something bridesmaidy. 
 

The event will serve as a pep rally to energize five idealistic young women (including on of the Men's Fitness editors) who are running in the ING New York City Marathon in their old bridesmaids’ dresses on November 4. They’re raising money for New Light, an organization which fights human trafficking around the world.  
 

Part of their publicity strategy is seeing how many guys they can get to play dress up. As you might imagine, it is a daunting recruiting challenge. But not an impossible one. Several guys will be joining me in what will surely become America’s Sweatiest Bridal Party. 
 

I’m not a competitive runner. I jog on the open road because I can never seem to get the same fitness results from using a treadmill or elliptical machine. Novelty theme races help keep me from getting bored with exercise.  
 

  
Next month, I am leading a team of Hawaiian shirt-clad “Tacky Tourists” in the Renegade Playground Challenge mud race. Along with my kids, I will also be dressing as Robin the Boy Wonder in a Superhero 5K to benefit our local children’s hospital. And next on my radar: “The Color Run” race where volunteers dump buckets of brightly dyed corn starch on your head and turn your white shirt into a tie dye. 
 

I hope that the Bridesmaids race, which is an official wave of the New York Road Runners (NYRR) Fifth Avenue Mile, lives up to its full themed potential. At every tenth of a mile, I’d like to see a basket of jordan almonds (the party favors wrapped in white tulle and ribbon). Every third of a mile, I’d love to eat lamb kebab and coconut chicken tenders.

And wouldn’t it be awesome if one of my teammates broke a four minute mile, becoming forever enshrined as the “Roger Bannister of Bridesmaids”?  Based on my training heats, I know I won’t be that person.  But I am quite confident that I will emerge on Saturday as one of the fourth or fifth fastest guys in a dress.  

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“Bridesmaid” Darren Garnick is striving to be a more fashionable athlete than Tom Brady and his cute little Uggs. Check out Darren’s tips for running with broken ribs or follow him on Twitter @darrengarnick.  A special shoutout goes out to the Marry & Tux Bridal Shoppe for providing Darren’s eggplant A-line dress, which his wife Stacy calls “classy.”

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