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Online registration has opened for one of the coolest events of the winter – the 2017 Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge® to benefit Special Olympics Illinois! Individuals and teams can register for the Plunge on the Special Olympics Illinois website at or by contacting the Special Olympics Illinois staff listed below.

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 Polar Plunge presented by GEICO.

The Polar Plunge is one of the premier fundraising events for the Law Enforcement Torch Run and Special Olympics Illinois. In 2016, more than $1.9 million was raised by 6,480 Plungers statewide; in 18 years, $16.5 million has been raised by more than 60,000 Plungers. The event has grown from one location in 1999 to 22 locations across the state (see list below) this year. The Polar Plunge season 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. 17 & 18 at the Clark Street 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 $100 in donations that will be used to support Special Olympics programs in Illinois.

Plungers are encouraged to form teams to spread the fun. Each team member must raise the minimum of $100 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. For every $500 a Plunger raises, he/she will get an entry into the drawing for this grand prize.

2017 Polar Plunge locations, dates and contact info:

SUPER Plunge – 2 p.m. Friday, February 17, to 1 p.m. Saturday, February 18 (Plunging once an hour every hour for 24 hours)

Lake Michigan, Clark Street Beach, Evanston

Contact: Sandy Nash, 309-888-2551


Lake Michigan, Evanston – 1 p.m. Saturday, February 18

Lake Michigan, Clark Street Beach, Evanston

Contact: Kristen Wisniewski, 847-370-7370

Palatine – noon Sunday, February 19

Twin Lakes, Salt Creek Park District

Contact: Jordan Feldman, 224-234-8635


Bloomington – 10:30 a.m. & Noon Saturday, February 25

Miller Park Lake

Contact: Jordan Vose, 309-888-2678


Carbondale – noon Saturday, February 25

SIU Recreation Center

Polar Donut Dash 5K at 9:30 a.m.

Contact: Josh Paddock, 618-457-2969


Carlyle – noon Saturday, February 25

Carlyle Lake, Main Beach

Polar Donut Dash 5K at 9:30 a.m.

Contact: Justin Dunning, 618-654-6680


Mahomet/Champaign – noon Saturday, February 25

Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, Mahomet

Polar Donut Dash 5K at 10 a.m.

Contact: Jackie Walk, 217-355-1750


Quincy – noon Saturday, February 25

Moorman Lake, Upper Moorman Park

Contact: Heather Davis, 217-322-7451

Mendota – noon Saturday, February 25

Lake Mendota

Contact: Allison Nichols, 815-220-8128


Fox Lake – 1 p.m. Sunday, February 26

Lake Front Park

Contact: Brenden Cannon, 224-377-8378

Galesburg – 2 p.m. Sunday, February 26

Lake Storey

Contact: Jennifer Davis, 309-337-9326


Decatur – noon Saturday, March 4

The Beach House, Nelson Park, Lake Decatur

Contact: Joanie Keyes, 217-428-9255


Effingham – noon Saturday, March 4

Lake Sara

Contact: Vanessa Duncan, 217-345-2424


Manteno – 2 p.m. Saturday, March 4

Manteno Lake, Manteno Sportsmen’s Club

Contact: Patty Welsh, 708-991-7564


Oak Brook – 1 p.m. Saturday, March 4

Oak Brook Bath and Tennis Club

Contact: Katie Grisham, 630-545-3402


Rend Lake – noon Saturday, March 4

South Sandusky Beach, Rend Lake

Contact: Rhonda Knight, 618-383-4400

Rockford – noon Saturday, March 4

Olson Lake, Rock Cut State Park

Contact: Debbie Kelly, 815-739-2052

Springfield – noon Saturday, March 4

Knights of Columbus Hall #4179, Lake Springfield, Chatham

Contact: Lynde Dobson, 217-544-3023


Macomb – 2 p.m. Sunday, March 5

Spring Lake, Macomb

Contact: Jennifer Davis, 309-337-9326


Yorkville – 1 p.m. Sunday, March 5

Loon Lake, Silver Springs State Park

Contact: Amanda Nelson, 630-942-5616

Joliet – noon Saturday, March 11

Leisure Lakes, 21900 SW Frontage Road

Contact: Patty Welsh, 708-991-7564

Lincoln – noon Saturday, March 18

Knights of Columbus Hall, Lincoln Lakes Private Beach

Contact: Joanie Keyes, 217-428-9255

Rock Island – 2 p.m. Sunday, March 19

Wick’s Lake, Jumer’s Casino & Hotel

Contact: Jennifer Davis, 309-337-9326

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.