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What You Should Know About the Polar Plunge This Weekend

At noon on January 25, members of the Lakeview Polar Bear Club will meet at Oak Street Beach to jump into freezing Lake Michigan. Read this before joining them.

Invigorating!   Photo: Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune


Number of Polar Plunge participants in 2013.


250 to 500

Typical number of spectators.



Ambulance on hand (plus a fire department dive team) for emergencies.


60%, 40%

Gender breakdown of Plungers, by men and women, respectively.



Age difference years between the youngest-ever Plunger (age 6) and the oldest-ever (age 77).



Typical time, in seconds, that Plungers spend in the water.



Average temperature of Lake Michigan in January.



Average temperature in Chicago on January 25.



Current forecast for the temperature at noon on Saturday. Winds are expected to blow at around 24 mph.



Time, in minutes, that club cofounder Brian Marchal intends to spend in the water. (“I’ve always felt that was a truly respectable time frame.”)


3 minutes

Time one can be in freezing water before cold shock (blood pressure spike and possible cardiac arrest) sets in, according to the America Outdoors Association.



What it costs a Plunger to register on the beach day-of. (It’s only $30 if you pre-register today.) Go for it!


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