PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The new year started off with frigid temperatures, but they were no match for the dozens of people who decided to take the Polar Bear Plunge.
Those brave individuals jumped into the icy Mon River for a good cause.
Before the would-be polar bears could jump in, ice on the river had to be moved.
“This will be the worst I’ve seen it, but this will be my 15th jump. I’ve done 15,” John Geilas, of Polish Hill, said.
Even those who are experienced with the Polar Plunge knew the ice would make the New Year’s Day tradition a bit more challenging.
Still, it wasn’t enough for them to skip it.
“Nothing else to do this morning, nice balmy day, nothing better to do than a swim,” Dave Etzi, of Pleasant Hills, said.
“Eleventh year and I couldn’t imagine starting the year without doing it,” James Shamlin, of Franklin Park, said.
With the ice cleared, they plunged into the river in groups.
“It’s invigorating. It’s like every part of your body wakes up,” Geilas said.
“This year is probably the second worst in 53 years that I’ve been doing it,” Frank Nelson, of North Huntingdon, said.
“It didn’t really feel that bad. The worst part was breaking through the ice. The ice is hard,” Eddie Perun, of Toronto, Ohio, said.
One man learned about ice the hard way.
“I went to go under the water and dunk my head and I hit my head on the ice and I hit my head. The ice hurts. The ice hurts a lot,” Pal Int, of Ross Township, said.
Even Pittsburgh’s finest couldn’t resist the urge to take the plunge.
“This is my sixth year with this crew. They’re awesome and can’t not come down with them and do this. It’s a great way to start off the New Year,” Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert said.
All in all, it was a good, cold deed for charity.
Most in attendance said they plan to do it again next year, when hopefully it won’t be as cold.