People plunge into near-freezing Horsetooth Reservoir for charity

Savannah Hoag

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Photos by Michael Berg.


Most people choose to spend their winter mornings bundled up inside, but not those participating in the Polar Bear Run and Plunge

The over 100 participants jumped into the 34-degree Horsetooth Reservoir Saturday morning after running a 5k benefitting different companies around Fort Collins.

This is the fourth year Green Events, an event company based out of Fort Collins, has put on the Polar Bear Run and Plunge.

Ron Baker, a partner in Green Events with Lisa Sinclair and also the race director, said: “We started Green Events five years ago on the triple bottom line, that’s environmental sustainability, social sustainability and financial sustainability.”

Green Events puts on various running events throughout the entire year, including a summer series that is an open water swim and run and ten more running races in the year.

The proceeds for the Polar Bear Run and Plunge will go toward the Larimer County Dive and Rescue Team, Animal House Rescue and both the Rocky Mountain and Poudre Valley High cross country teams.

“This will be my second year (participating in the Polar Bear Plunge),” said Cheryl McDonald-Pugh, an alumna of Colorado State University. “I do it because it’s for a good cause.”

While jumping into almost-freezing water is a part of the event, it is not required of all race participants.

Melissa James, a recent graduate, and her friend Erin Creger, a senior studying mechanical engineering, were not interested in jumping into Horsetooth, but instead chose only to participate in the 5k race.

“It’s kind of our motto: We’ll run for beer,” James said.


Collegian Reporter Savannah Hoag can be reached at or on Twitter at @sav_hoag.