Teams sought for Feb. 4 Po­lar Plunge

The Peterborough Examiner - - NEWS - JOELLE KOVACH EX­AM­INER STAFF WRITER JKo­vach@post­media.com

If you feel like plung­ing into the frigid wa­ters of Che­mong Lake next month, Mike Richardson wants to hear from you.

It’s not so bad, Richardson in­sists – and it’s all for char­ity.

He’s done it three times. Richardson says you can take the plunge, jump out again and find your­self in a steamy hot tub in 30 sec­onds flat.

Wait a minute ... Let’s not kid our­selves: Richardson ad­mits the cold hits you like a kick in the chest.

“But it’s mo­men­tary!” he says. Richardson is a Ro­tar­ian and he’s an or­ga­nizer of the an­nual po­lar plunge for the Ro­tary Club of Bridgenorth-En­nis­more-Lake­field (BEL).

It’s the 38th an­nual event and it’s be­ing held at Ro­tary Park, on the shores of Che­mong Lake in En­nis­more, on Sun­day, Feb. 4 at 2 p.m.

It’s part of the week­end-long Po­larFest, which also in­cludes events such as fire­works, ice sculp­tures and speed skat­ing at the Oval (www.po­larfest.ca).

In keep­ing with tra­di­tion, there’s a theme for any­one want­ing to do the plunge in cos­tume: this year it’s su­per­heroes.

Re­mem­ber Mr. Freeze? That would work, al­though Richardson says any­thing goes from Won­der Woman to the Hulk.

“There’s just so much su­per­hero in­ter­est right now,” he said.

The Po­lar Plunge works like this: regis­ter on­line at and col­lect pledges through www.bel­ro­tary­plunge.com

The Ro­tary Club strongly sug­gests that each par­tic­i­pant col­lect at least $200 in pledges.

Half the money pledged will be put to­ward Ro­tary’s com­mu­nity ser­vice work, and the rest will go to the char­ity of your choice (Richardson is tak­ing the plunge for Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity this year, for ex­am­ple).

Over the years, it’s been highly suc­cess­ful: they’ve col­lected $650,000 in to­tal since the be­gin­ning of the an­nual event.

Par­tic­i­pants are asked to show up any­time be­tween noon and 2 p.m. on Feb. 4.

Even those who’ve reg­is­tered on­line are asked to regis­ter a sec­ond time, on the spot. Then when it’s your turn, brace your­self for the cold­est ex­pe­ri­ence ever.

Richardson said par­tic­i­pa­tion is ex­pected to be strong: as of Fri­day there were al­ready 22 teams reg­is­tered to do the plunge, and he ex­pects as many as 40 teams to sign up by Feb. 5.

If you’re not part of a team, he said, you can still en­ter: they take in­di­vid­ual en­tries, or groups of up to six peo­ple.

There’s also prizes be­ing awarded in cat­e­gories such as best cos­tume and most funds raised.

Al­though there’s been a thaw this week, Richardson says he’s op­ti­mistic the ice will hold up well for the po­lar plunge.

He said that even in Fri­day’s rain, the ice on Che­mong Lake was be­tween eight and 10 inches thick. With colder tem­per­a­tures ex­pected overnight, he fig­ures the ice won’t melt too much.

“If worse came to worst, peo­ple would run into the wa­ter from shore,” Richardson said.

NOTE: Up­dates can be found on Face­book at www.face­book.com/ BELRo­taryClub or on Twit­ter @ BELPo­larPlunge

CLIF­FORD SKARSTEDT/EX­AM­INER FILES

Plunger Mike Richardson flips out dur­ing the 36th an­nual BEL Ro­tary Po­lar Plunge on Feb. 7, 2016 on Che­mong Lake next to the James A. Gifford Cause­way. Richardson is seek­ing en­trants for this year’s 38th plunge tak­ing place Feb. 4 start­ing at 2 p.m.

CLIF­FORD SKARSTEDT/EX­AM­INER FILES

Plungers wear­ing moose heads take an icy dip dur­ing the 37th an­nual BEL Ro­tary An­nual Po­lar Plunge on Feb. 5 on Che­mong Lake in En­nis­more. Or­ga­niz­ers are seek­ing en­trants for this year’s plunge tak­ing place Feb. 4 start­ing at 2 p.m.

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