July 25, 2016

Partly cloudy

177 take a polar plunge in Chippewa Lake for charity

CHIPPEWA LAKE — About a 180 people were “splishing-and-a-splashing” on a Saturday afternoon in 35-degree water for a good cause.

The second annual Polar Bear Run, Walk and Jump benefited the village’s Crosspointe Church Community meal program and Feeding Medina County Initiative. The plunge also generated a few bucks for the Chippewa Lake Lions Club, which sponsored the event.

Medina residents, from left, Holly and Tom Cifranic, Scott Rasper and John Kozar plunge into the chilly Chippewa Lake water Saturday afternoon as part of the 2012 Polar Bear Run, Walk and Jump. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY STEVE GRAZIER))

“I came out here to prove to my dad I had the guts to do it,” said Chippewa Lake resident Marcheasa Martella, who raised $200 for local charity.

Prior to the water plunge, participants warmed up to the idea of jumping in Chippewa Lake by running or walking 2 miles. Overall, 177 people took to the water, jumping from the lake’s beachside dock solo or with a group of friends and/or relatives.

Many jumpers donned costumes to add flavor to the event. Some had hula skirts and some dressed up as Star Wars clones, members of the Grateful Dead, clowns and zoo animals.

First-time jumper Anthony Martella, of Broadview Heights, said the word “chilling” first came to mind as he hit water.

“I was instantly numb,” he said while drying off and warming up. “It’s a lot of fun, and I’ll do it again next year.”

Katie Albright, an organizer of the jump, said spirits were high despite Saturday’s weather, which was windy and snowy with a temperature near the freezing mark.

“It’s probably the worst weather you can have for this, and the lake’s not even frozen,” she said. “Last year, everyone could walk out onto the ice.

“But we’ve got about three times as many people here for our second try, and that’s great.”

During last year’s inaugural event, 61 people made the quick dip, and nearly $7,000 was raised for charity.

The total raised for Saturday’s jump was not immediately known. However, organizers were certain that more dollars were generated than in 2011. A goal of $20,000 was set.

Contact Steve Grazier at (330) 721-4012 or sgrazier@medina-gazette.com.