Runners endure cold for Polar Bear Plunge
January 17, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. (17 Jan. 2013) -- More than 115 people, many in costumes ranging from Tigger, Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore, to the Three Amigo Smurfs and a family of Star Wars characters, turned out in 30-degree weather for the Polar Bear Plunge, 5K Run and children's Cub Crawl Jan. 12 at Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area.
"Even though temperatures dipped below freezing, we had a great turnout," said Jay Hunt, event organizer and Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sports director. "A lot of brave souls, around 20 to 30 people of all ages, took the plunge, too, and some even went back a second time. It was a fun way to start the weekend mixing fitness, family and freezing cold water."
Many of the 5K runners were in shorts and without any outerwear.
"It wasn't so bad while I was running except for the ice cold wind which cut right through me," said one of the runners who wore shorts.
Speedo-wearing superheroes won the costume contest, which was decided by audience response.
"We decided it would be more fun to let the audience pick the winners of the costume contest and, they definitely made the most noise for our Speedo-wearing super heroes," said Hunt.
Also running were other various super heroes, including Captain America, and a penguin.
Winners of the 5K were Jacob Standley with a time of 18 minutes; Cody Byars, 18.33; and Hunter Meget, 18.36.
Master Sgt. Steven Jenderseck, Inspector General office, ran the Cub Crawl with his son Keegan, 9, placed first.
"It was a well-run event. I sure wish they would have had some awards for the kids that ran as well," Jenderseck said. "The rest of the event was top-notch."
Hunt said he is already working on making sure the children who participate in the Cub Crawl will be recognized in future events.
"That is something we hadn't thought about before, but it is an easy fix. I'm glad it was brought to our attention. I think those kids definitely deserve the recognition for running a pretty tough race," he said.
The event, hosted by FMWR Sports Department, was open to the public.
"This is the third year MWR has put on this activity, and every year has been a hit with a good turnout," said Shane Dunlevy, Community Recreation Division chief. "We have seen a great response in participation, even the plunge in mid-January isn't keeping people away."
According to Hunt, the event is a great way to incorporate fitness, morale enhancement, and great fun all in one activity. "The best part is the whole family can participate in the event. "We saw several families come out to enjoy the fitness activities together."