Pamela Anderson's run is no stunt
Brooklyn. The morning of Nov. 3, 2013.
Spectators near the 12-mile marker of the ING New York Marathon spot a trim, top-heavy, blonde passing under the Williamsburg Bridge. She's wearing a bright-red, one-piece swimsuit and running slowly, deliberately -- it almost looks like she's moving in slow motion.
Wait ... they recognize her. It's Pamela Anderson! The former Playboy Playmate and "Baywatch" bombshell is running the marathon? And in her trademark red swimsuit? No way.
Sounds far-fetched, but it almost happened.
Anderson, is, in fact, running the New York City Marathon on Sunday, and she nearly was talked into pulling out her old swimsuit for one last spin around the block.
"For a second I did entertain the thought," Anderson said. "I had friends ask me to [wear it]. They think it would be really funny.
"The bad thing was, I did think twice about it!" she said, laughing.
The 46-year-old mother of two said her first marathon won't be as glamorous as friends hope; she'll just be "one of the sweaty people with the red faces." She likes it just fine that way; this isn't a publicity stunt, it's a chance to support actor Sean Penn's J/P Haitian Relief Organization.
"I was in Haiti shortly after the 2010 earthquake and I saw all the things J/P did, like getting kids in safe schools," said Anderson. "About six months ago, they approached me and said, 'Maybe you can come support us at the marathon by giving people hugs at the finish line.' I said, 'No, I wanna run!' I wanted to take that next step to show my dedication."
Anderson hopes to embolden people with her participation.
"When I finish the race, whatever people's perceptions of me, this is what I've done for a great cause, hopefully inspiring others to do things like this," she said.
Anderson knows some people view her as nothing more than your stereotypical Hollywood vixen, oversexualized and undereducated. She enjoys the opportunity to surprise people.
"It's not that important to me [to prove myself to people]," she said. "But it's interesting when it happens. Everything I am is what people perceive me to be, which mostly works to my advantage when it comes to surprising people. I get to do all this great, fun stuff and I don't have to worry about what people think of me because, for some reason, they don't have a lot of expectations. So when I surprise people, like speak in full sentences, people think I'm a genius."
With her focus solely on raising money and awareness for J/P, Anderson says she's not trying to surprise people by running fast; just crossing the finish line will be a huge success.
"I'm going to walk and run," she said of her strategy. "I'm not an athlete. I haven't had a lot of experience with this stuff. I just want to donate my energy and my passion for the cause and see what I'm capable of doing.
"With my crazy schedule, my training regimen might not be perfect, but I'm definitely in the best shape I've ever been in. You never know, I could surprise myself and run the whole thing!"
While her slow-mo beach bounding made her famous, pounding the pavement is a whole new thing for Anderson, who admits her fit figure has always been the result of healthy, vegetarian eating, and not much work.
"I never worked out in the 'Baywatch' days," she confessed. "Now it feels so good, I'm like, 'Why wasn't I doing this for the last 20 years of my life?' But everything happens for a reason and I'm actually glad that, at this time and this age, I'm exercising. I'm not sure what else would have gotten me to exercise."
Her newly discovered love affair with running has her feeling worry-free heading into Sunday's race.
"Everyone has their war stories about being in marathons," she said. "But I just think, 'You know, it's a great way to see New York.'
"Running the marathon is definitely one of the crazier things I've done in my career," said Anderson, who has posed nude for Playboy and competed on "Dancing With The Stars" and "Dancing On Ice."
"I know Hef is really proud of me!"