Ditch the chocolates, get sweaty with your sweetie

Runners take their position at the starting line during Cupid's Undie Run to raise money for The Children's Tumor Foundation Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at Loggerhead's Beach Grill on Folly Beach. Paul Zoeller/Staff

Over the years, an array of studies have demonstrated that couples that sweat together stay together.

A story in the Jan. 10, 2014 edition of “Psychology Today” detailed that couples who participate in “exciting physical challenges or activities” boost happiness in their relationship, induce symptoms of physiological arousal, and increase their emotional bond.

So maybe instead of spending money on chocolates, red roses, wine and an expensive dinner, a recipe for today’s Valentine’s Day weekend may call for exercise, which may be the best of aphrodisiacs.

Perhaps the most Valentine-themed event in the Charleston area in the past two years is the Cupid’s Undie Run, which is technically a run in your underwear but it gravitates towards sexy costumes and lots of red.

The event will be noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, with the mile undie run starting at 2 p.m., at Loggerhead’s Beach Grill on Folly Beach.

The local run is one of 39 held in the United States and Australia. The events raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation and specifically neurofibromatosis, a rare genetic disorder that spurs tumor growth in the nervous system.

Since Cupid’s Undie Run was founded in 2010, the series has raised more than $7.7 million, and proceeds from the yearly event now fulfill a quarter of the annual research budget donated to the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

Last December, Cupid’s Undie Run co-founder Bobby Gill was one of two people featured on the cover of Runner’s World. Local organizer Kryssy Andrash is hoping that national attention will give all the events a boost in participation.

“We know having our founder on the cover has given the event a boost. It was all about the awareness for that and very dear to the Cupid’s community that the story of how it all began and the legacy of Drew Leathers was shared,” says Andrash.

Leathers, who was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis in ninth grade, died last August at 28. His brother Chad Leathers also is an event co-founder.

This year’s event will be similar to the past two in the sense of location, run route and the heroes present (local child “champions”). We expect just over 300 runners which is a bit less than last year and (as far as) fundraising, we’re aiming at $20,000, also down from last year,” says Andrash.

“Nationally, we just reached over 20,000 runners and I believe will certainly achieve our $5 million goal.”

The late registration fee is $55 and participants are encouraged to raise extra money for the cause.


For the more modest, Wild Blue Ropes guarantees “a date … guaranteed to bring romance to the next level.”

It is offering its annual Valentine Couples Climb, 7-10 p.m. Saturday, on James Island. The cost is $50 per couple, who are encouraged to bring a picnic, wine or beer and “cozy up by the fire” after the evening climb.

Wild Blue Ropes also is offering a Sweetheart of a Deal 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Climbs are only $25 per person. No code is required and the discount is taken at checkout.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 843-225-1555 or by clicking the red heart at www.wildblueropes.com.

Acroyoga is often confused with “couples yoga,” partly because it’s very conducive to couples doing the playful, yet acrobatic form of yoga.

For weeks, local acroyoga practitioner Sally Bette Newman has been conducting a “Thursday Night Acroyoga Class and Jam” at Arthur Christopher Community Center in Charleston. Tonight’s class, from 7-9 p.m., will be the last until early March.

The fees are $15 for the class, held 7-8 p.m., with the jam (free practice) included, or $5 for just the jam 8-9 p.m. All levels are welcome. The center is at 265 Fishburne St. in Charleston.

Two 5K runs with Valentine’s themes will be on Saturday, one in Mount Pleasant and the other on James Island.

The second annual Wando Hearts and Soles 5K Run/Walk for Heart Health will be 9 a.m. Saturday at Wando High School. The event benefits Wando Wellness, which seeks to supplement limited public funds for school wellness programs.

Organizer Larsyn Runion Cross says the Charleston County School District provides schools with a $1,000 grant for implementing wellness programs at the school.

“While this is a substantial amount of money for many schools, it is a very limiting fund for a school as large as Wando,” says Cross.

She adds that Wando Wellness wants to improve its yoga program for teachers, provide after-school fitness programs for students, host health professionals from the area for informational sessions on nutrition and fitness, and increase the overall culture of wellness at Wando.

This is a nonprofit fundraiser and all proceeds go to directly impact the lives of the students and staff at Wando High School.

The fee is $30-35.


The other 5K is Community Options’ Cupid’s Chase at 10 a.m. Saturday at James Island County Park. The cost is $30-$40.


In honor of Friday’s International Winter Bike to Work Day, Charleston Moves is encouraging locals to get on their bikes with free breakfast and coffee for those who do, though you’ll have to head to the steps of Charleston City Hall 7:30-9 a.m. Friday to get it.

Globally, more than 10,000 people participated in International Winter Bike to Work Day last year.

“We’re excited that the Legare Bridge bike and pedestrian lane is set to break ground soon. The protected lane is a huge quality-of-life improvement for West Ashley and the region, and gives everyone a safe, convenient way to cross the Ashley River on foot or on a bike,” says Kurt Cavanaugh, executive director of Charleston Moves.