Polar Plungers Will Be Freezin’ For A Reason February 21 – March 23 Across Illinois


It’s not every day that people are willing to “go jump in a lake” – particularly in the winter – let alone do so with thousands of other people, including members of the law enforcement community. But that’s exactly what will happen on various weekends in February and March as part of the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge® to benefit Special Olympics Illinois presented by GEICO.

The event has grown from one location in 1999 to 20 locations across the state (see list below) this year. The Polar Plunge series will kick off with a SUPER Plunge – where participants raise a minimum of $2,500 and plunge into Lake Michigan once an hour every hour for 24 hours – on Feb. 21-22 at Northwestern University’s North Beach in Evanston.

Any adventurous soul is invited to join law enforcement officers, as well as media and business and civic leaders from their community by donning bathing suits, costumes or any clothing of choice (just no wet suits!) to jump in a lake. Each plunger must collect a minimum of $75 in donations that will be used to support Special Olympics programs in Illinois.

Individuals and teams can register for the Plunge on the Special Olympics Illinois website at http://www.plungeillinois.com or by contacting the Special Olympics Illinois staff listed below.

Plungers are encouraged to form teams to spread the fun. Each team member must raise the minimum of $75 in donations and all team members’ individual fundraising totals will be merged to form a combined team total. Teams are placed into divisions based on size and are awarded prizes for the most money raised.

All plungers will receive gifts, compete for prizes, and enjoy food and camaraderie with other chilly participants. The more money a plunger raises, the more chances he/she will have to win a 4-night trip for two adults to Cancun, Mexico with accommodations at Riu Peninsula, courtesy of Apple Vacations. For every $500 a plunger raises, he/she will get an entry into the drawing for this grand prize.

  • Bloomington – 10:30 a.m. & noon Saturday, February 22
    Miller Park Lake
    Contact: Jill Speer, 309-888-2012
  • Carbondale – noon Saturday, February 22
    Campus Lake Boat Dock, Southern Illinois University
    Contact: Paul Melzer, 618-457-2969
  • Carlyle – noon Saturday, February 22
    Carlyle Lake, Main Beach
    Contact: Peggy Knebel, 618-654-6680
  • Evanston – 1 p.m. Saturday, February 22
    Northwestern University’s North Beach
    Contact: Katie Grisham, 630-545-3402
  • Quincy – 12:15 p.m. Saturday, February 22
    Moorman Lake, Upper Moorman Park
    Contact: Justin Dunning, 618-654-6680
  • Fox Lake – 1 p.m. Sunday, February 23
    Contact: Brenden Cannon, 224-377-8378
  • Galesburg – 2 p.m. Sunday, February 23
    Lake Storey
    Contact: Cathy Betar, 309-734-5903
  • Effingham – noon Saturday, March 1
    Lake Sara
    Contact: Linda Wunder, 618-654-6680
  • Lake Bluff – 1 p.m. Saturday, March 1
    Sunrise Beach
    Contact: Sandy Hutchins, 630-377-7250
  • Mahomet/Champaign – noon Saturday, March 1
    Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, Mahomet
    Contact: Jackie Walk, 217-355-1750
  • Manteno – 2 p.m. Saturday, March 1
    Manteno Lake
    Contact: Patty Welsh, 708-756-4201
  • Rend Lake – noon Saturday, March 1
    South Sandusky Beach, Rend Lake
    Contact: Rhonda Knight, 618-383-4400
  • Rockford – noon Saturday, March 1
    Olson Lake, Rock Cut State Park
    Contact: Debbie Kelly, 815-288-2939
  •  Springfield – noon Saturday, March 1
    Knights of Columbus Hall #4179, Lake Springfield, Chatham
    Contact: Darrin Burnett, 217-544-3023
  •  Palatine – noon Sunday, March 2
    Twin Lakes, Salt Creek Park District
    Contact: Dan Conley, 224-234-8635
  •  Yorkville – 1 p.m. Sunday, March 2
    Loon Lake, Silver Springs State Park
    Contact: Cheryl DePaepe, 815-220-8128
  •  Decatur – noon Saturday, March 8
    The Beach House, Nelson Park, Lake Decatur
    Contact: Joanie Keyes, 217-428-9255
  •  Joliet – noon Saturday, March 8
    Leisure Lakes, 21900 SW Frontage Road
    Contact: Patty Welsh, 708-756-4201
  •  Lincoln – noon Saturday, March 22
    Private Beach, Lincoln Lakes
    Contact: Joanie Keyes, 217-428-9255
  •  Rock Island – 2 p.m. Sunday, March 23
    Wicks Lake, Jumer’s Casino & Hotel
    Contact: Cathy Betar, 309-734-5903

The Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run is the single largest year-round fundraising vehicle benefiting Special Olympics Illinois. The annual intrastate relay and its various fundraising projects have two goals:  to raise money and increase public awareness for the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois. Each year, more than 3,000 officers in Illinois run more than 1,500 miles carrying the Flame of Hope through the streets of their hometowns and deliver it to the State Summer Games in Normal in June.

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Michele Evans, 309-888-2573
Barbara DiGuido, 630-942-5610