Dressed up or stripped down, a Polar Plunge for a good cause

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Last year’s participants brace themselves for the polar plunge. (Courtesy of Tiffany Leslie)

KURE BEACH — It is that time of year, when the otherwise sensible people of New Hanover County run up and down the streets and then throw themselves into the frigid Atlantic Ocean, sometimes in costume, but always for a good cause.

For the 13th year, the Polar Plunge and 5K run will support the New Hanover County chapter of the Special Olympics. The event, which gives 100 percent of its proceeds to the Special Olympics, invites the brave and generous to take a bone-chilling plunge by the Kure Beach pier on K Avenue (when, according the average ocean temperature is 46 ‘F, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

For the generous, but less adventurous, the event also includes a 5k run and “Fun Walk” (about a mile).

There will also be a costume contest.

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Some of 2016s costume entries. (Courtesy of Tiffany Leslie)

Participants pledge individually or as a team (of five or more). Teams must have at least five members and each member must raise their minimum amount to be eligible to run or plunge.

To participate in a single event, participants much each raise $50 to take the plunge (an extra $5 permits a canine companion, if one can be convinced) , $30 for the 5K run or the one mile “Fun Walk.” There is also $65 for the combo package, which includes the Plunge, and the 5K or 1 mile walk.

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The ‘Fun Walk’ is for all ages and ability levels. (Courtesy of Tiffany Leslie)

The event will begin will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, with live music from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. The costume contest will be held at 12:30 p.m. Both the 5k and Fun Walk will begin at 1:30 p.m. and the line up for the polar plunge will take place at 3 p.m.

At 3:15 p.m. those hearty enough to participate will brave the icy waters.

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A 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, February 11, 2017, the polar plunge will commence. Tiffany Leslie)

All proceeds support the Special Olympics New Hanover County and its mission to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for all children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

The organization currently has more than 600 Special Olympic Athletes. The country provides training and competition on a local, state and national level, for athletes in several different sports including, basketball, softball, bowling, bocce, golf, power lifting, cheerleading, soccer, swimming, tennis and volleyball.

Participating in sports gives Special Olympic athletes continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympic athletes and the community, according to the organization.

For more information, including registration, about the annual polar plunge event visit the Special Olympics website. To volunteer, contact Tiffany Leslie at (910) 341-7253 or Tiffany.Lesley@wilmingtonnc.gov.

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