Hundreds take Pittsburgh Polar Plunge into Ohio River for Special Olympics
There are easier ways to help Special Olympics Pennsylvania but few that build the kind of camaraderie generated by the Pittsburgh Polar Plunge.
Almost 900 people braved the chilly Ohio River on Saturday during the apex of the two-day event to raise money to benefit Special Olympics athletes.
“I could write a check — it's that simple — but it's about actually getting the camaraderie with the Olympians, with their families,” Valencia Mayor Krystal Schultz said. “These are relationships I'll have for the rest of my life.”
Unlike last year's one-day event, this year's was split between two days. On Friday, a group of 16 “super plungers” jumped into a pool twice an hour for 12 hours at Stage AE's outdoor venue. Saturday's main event saw 14 groups of 40 to 60 people running into the Ohio River. This year's weather, with an air temperature that hovered around the mid-20s, was significantly colder than last year's balmy, 60 degree readings.
“I've been meaning to do this for a couple of years. Unfortunately, I picked the coldest year,” said Ben Perna of Robinson. “I ate some hot sausage this morning hoping to warm up from the inside out.”
Andrew Russell is a Tribune-Review photographer. Reach him at email@example.com.