First, participants raised money.
Then some dressed in costume — such as Cleveland Indians uniforms, complete with spikes — and others in distance running gear.
Several ran 5 kilometers.
And 32 got wet.
was all part of the Chippewa Lake Lions Club’s seventh Polar Bear Jump & 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, which offered participants a chance to brave the snow and freezing temperatures for a good cause.
About 32 jumpers and another 93 runners gathered at the lake, many sporting costumes in what has become a local tradition.
The first-place runners were Curt Bachus of Akron at 18:57 for the men, and Chrissy Betsa of Mayfield Heights at 23:37 for the women.
Amy and John Topola of Chippewa Lake dressed as Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter. They decided to take the icy plunge again this year to support the CrossPointe Community Church Meals Program because they are active members.
“And it’s fun,” said Abbott, who also admitted that jumping in the 28-degree lake was “very uncomfortable.”
That was the consensus among jumpers including a group dressed as Cleveland Indians players — the Martell family of Cleveland Heights (Jimmy, Angelo, Tom, Chris and Zach). They also were the biggest fundraisers for the event at the $4,000 mark.
The SHC/The Arc of Medina County team raised more than $1,000. The team included Stefanie Bradway of Lodi, Jess Heilman of Medina, Laura Boreman of West Salem and Matt Meuer of Medina.
Randy Meyer of Crosspointe Community Church raised $600.
Forty-six people raised more than $100, event organizer Shelly Wharton of SHC said.
In total, this year’s event yielded $17,000 for charities including SHC/The Arc of Medina County, CrossPointe Community Church Meals Program, Lafayette Township Fire Department and the Church at the Lake Food Pantry.
Lions Club member Eric Neiger, dressed as Willy Wonka, emceed the plunge.
The event also was an opportunity for Lafayette and other fire departments to conduct cold-weather emergency medical technician training. About 20 on-site EMTs provided support for the event.
Contact reporter Marina Malenic at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.