Polar Plunge

Those looking to take a little cold-water plunge for a good cause will get their chance later this month at the 10th-annual Polar Plunge, a fundraiser for the Lee County Special Olympics. 

The Polar Plunge will take place on Saturday, Jan. 29, at the Samford Pool, with plungers making the leap in four "waves" staring at 9 a.m.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Polar Plunge, which started with only about 18 people taking the plunge into the backyard pool of Ryan Molt, a former employee in the city's Parks and Recreation Department. 

"It was fun to start it in the backyard, but we realized pretty quickly that we needed to expand it to a much larger location," Molt said. "I honestly thought it was going to be a one-and-done type thing, but we had so much fun that first year ... It quickly went from something that I though was going to be a one-time event to, you know, 'We have a shot here to really do some good stuff for the local special athletes."

All of the donations raised at the event will benefit Lee County Special Olympics, helping the organization fund the purchasing of equipment and uniforms, or to support the travel and lodging of Special Olympics athletes, six of whom will be traveling to Orlando for the national competition this year.

This year's Polar Plunge will take place in four waves at the Samford Pool, with plunge times every 15 minutes starting at 9 a.m. on Jan. 29. Pre-registration is required at www.auburnalabama.org/parks

The theme of this year's 10th anniversary is "Silver," and participants are encouraged to keep the theme in mind when crafting what to wear for the popular costume contest. 

"I am really hoping to see people embrace the silver theme," said Elizabeth Kaufman, therapeutic programs coordinator, who said raising awareness of the needs of Special Olympics athletes was a major impact of the event. "Every person that plunges, fund-raises."

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