The Austin Chronicle

Thongs for the Memories

By Claire Gordon, May 9, 2014, 9:30am, Qmmunity

How should we celebrate those we love after they pass? With a somber ceremony shrouded in black or with wild abandon, joy, and bright colors? When it comes to Leslie, famous and beloved dear departed resident, the answer is clear, or, more accurately, running past wearing a thong.

The Third Annual Thong Jog isn’t until October, but registration launches Friday, May 8 with a kickoff party at Package Menswear. Featuring a fashion show, complete with the most trendy of skivvies to choose from for your race outfit, a performance by Fatbottom Cabaret, live music from DJ kidGorilla, complimentary booze from Deep Ellum, and food from Hero’s Gyros, there’s no reason not to go. There is an even better reason to go, sign up for the race, and support the cause.

Started in 2012, the Thong Jog is a 5K race held in memory of Leslie Cochran and benefiting Mobile Loaves and Fishes, an outreach ministry that provides food and clothing to Austin’s large homeless population. They often worked closely with Cochran in his capacity as a champion of the homeless.

Dean Baldwin of Austin F.I.T. and Sara Henry of Oh, Henry Events created the race as a memorial for the three-time mayoral candidate and personification of Austin Weird. After Leslie’s death, the result of complications from an assault, Henry and Baldwin wanted to engineer an event that would continue the work that Leslie so passionately loved, and hopefully inspire some of the fellowship, originality, and charity that Cochran was known for.

Although wearing a thong is not mandatory, participants in previous Thong Jogs have seized upon the opportunity to run a mile in Leslie’s tiny underpants, as well as a great variety of other costumes. The $25 registration fee covers entrance to the race, a shirt, as well as entrance to the after party. Baldwin and Henry are hoping to raise $10,000 for the charity this year, which requires around 400 participants to sign up, so stretch out those hammies, don your favorite G-string, loincloth, or bloomers, and come on out.

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