Man wearing speeds, stretching in a park.
Braeden prepares to get noticed by Auckland's citizenry.Image by: Supplied
Man wearing speeds, stretching in a park.
A man in speedos running on a path along the beach
15 February 2022

Runnin' Round The Bays: Braeden's Speedo Run For Men's Mental Health

4 minutes read time

The speedo is a somewhat controversial clothing item that can turn heads at the best (and worst) of times. However, one man is using the power of the speedo to raise awareness for men’s mental health. His name’s Braeden Drennan and he’ll be running down the bays of Auckland – while wearing nothing but the brightest budgie smugglers he can find.

Braeden will do a 9km dash to raise funds that will be split between Movember, and the Finn Lowery Foundation, a New Zealand-based wellness program that promotes dialogue and education on mental health in the water polo community.

It’s the second year running for Braeden's chaffing adventure, so we asked him where the idea came from… and about those tight-fitting togs.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a 27-year-old guy from Auckland, New Zealand. The sport of water polo has been a huge part of my life. This is where I have made many of my friendships and memorable experience. I was a part of the New Zealand Water Polo team for a few years. When I moved out of the country, I stuck to playing water polo overseas as well.

" The speedos are for a couple of reasons. People will laugh. I am going to laugh. However, the real inspiration is for an old teammate of mine. "

Sounds like an epic journey. What is the path you're running around the bays?

It’s not too long of a run, more of a fun run for Aucklanders to get active. It's approximately 9km and it goes from the Auckland CBD, all the way along Tamaki Drive to St Heliers beach.

When does it kick off?

The 6th of March is the date. However, with COVID, and Omicron, it might be cancelled or postponed. Last year's event was cancelled but I still ran the course anyway. I just looked more silly being the only one running... and the only one in speedos.

How did you go last year?

With the run, I got many toots and yells from strangers in their cars and on the street. I saw many smiles and laughs, obviously at my expense, but good to share anyway. Last year I made a crucial error in only wearing speedos and not something to wipe the sweat away, so I got sunblock and sweat in my eyes. This year I won’t make the same mistake. We managed to raise a healthy NZD $1,570.

So, why the speedos?

The speedos are for a couple of reasons. People will laugh. I am going to laugh. However, the real inspiration is for an old teammate of mine, and a teammate of many other New Zealand water polo players, Finn Lowery. In 2014, I was lucky enough to be a teammate of Finn for the 2014 Water Polo Commonwealth Champs held in Scotland. In 2014, I ran this race in speedos to raise money to be able to contribute to the costs of getting myself to Scotland to compete.

In March 2019, Finn Lowery took his own life. It's something that shocked many people, as outwardly he was a very happy and successful individual. So I'm re-doing this race in speedos to raise money for men’s mental health and for the foundation that Finn's close family and friends named after him.

Have you chosen a colour for your speedos?

Yes! The first year I did it in baby blue and hot pink speedos! Last year, I did it in bright yellow and orange. This year, I am thinking of doing it in bright blue!

Tell us a bit about the Finn Lowery Foundation.

The Finn Lowery Foundation was created out of a tragedy where a successful and amazing friend, who had battled with mental health issues, took his own life. The Foundation helps others get the help they need, and helps sports clubs promote mental wellness.

The Foundation also recognises courage and excellence with the annual Finn Lowery Award.

Where can we donate and get involved?

I have set up a GiveALittle page where the donations will be split 50/50 between Movemeber and the Finn Lowery Foundation. Datacom, a major Tech Company based in New Zealand, has pledged to match the total donation as of March the 6th, so every dollar donated will be matched by Datacom.

You can also support by coming along to the Auckland waterfront on March the 6th. Look for a man running in speedos – I will most likely be the only one. Or… you could join me!

Visit Braeden’s donation page to follow his journey.


If you, or someone you know, needs support please consider our list of local support resources. If you're ever worried that someone's life is in immediate danger, call 111 or go directly to emergency services.