10 ways to get ready for the Polar Bear Plunge [Pictures]
If hurling yourself into frigid water is your idea of a good time, then this is the weekend you've been waiting for. Some 12,000 hardy souls will be launching themselves into the Chesapeake Bay off Sandy Point State Park this weekend as part of the 17th Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge, an annual example of mass hysteria that last year raised $2.6 million for Special Olympics Maryland.
The rules are simple. Pay at least $50 for the privilege -- either your own money or contributions from others -- and you get to run into really, really cold water in the middle of a Maryland winter. For thousands of plungers annually (some 12,000 showed up last year), that's their idea of a good time.
We asked Linda Ellingsworth, director of communications and marketing programs for Special Olympics Maryland, for 10 things plungers should keep in mind. A repeat plunger herself -- she's done it four times -- Ellingsworth was glad to offer these suggestions as a public service.
-- Chris Kaltenbach
• Also see: Polar Bear Plunges through the years [Pictures]
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For first-timers, don't be the first one in the water; you might be the last one out.( Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun photo / January 28, 2012 )
If you're among the first to enter the water, bear this in mind: there are thousands of people running into the water behind you. Getting out quickly isn't going to be easy. And trust us, you're going to want to get out ASAP. Let the initial crowd run in and out before taking the plunge yourself.