All About The Polar Bear Dash + A Race Entry Giveaway!

In 2014, why not get a running start on the new year? At the Polar Bear Dash, you’ll get the thrill of a 5k race PLUS – if you’re daring – a sprint into Lake Michigan after crossing the finish line.

Below, race director Chris Ponteri tells us a bit about the upcoming race.

For more details about the Polar Bear Dash, visit our Featured Races page.

Can you tell us a bit about the Polar Bear Dash? What makes this race different/unique?

This is unique in a few ways. First, it’s on New Year’s Day, which is a great day to race if you’re not too hung over. And second, there is the optional polar plunge where you can jump into Lake Michigan after you finish.

20130101_175857_timg_0144Runners braving Lake Michigan at last year’s race

This is the race’s second year – Is there anything new or different happening at this year’s race?

Much of the course is the same; the only change is at the end. Last year runners had the choice of running through the lake before they finished or running along the shore. This year everyone will run along the shore and finish, and then they can jump into the lake if they wish. Also, we have a charity partner this year – the MS Society of Wisconsin. We will be raising funds for them, and are very excited about partnering with this worthy cause.

Do you expect many participants to take the plunge?

Last year about half of the participants did the plunge; I expect the same this year.

20130101_220232_uimg_0307Are you brave enough to jump in the lake?

Can you tell us a bit about the course? Do you have any tips for runners hoping to PR at the race?

It is actually a very fast course. Most of it is on Grant Park Drive, which is fairly flat. Then it finishes with a huge downhill to the beach parking lot. If it’s not too cold or the roads aren’t snow-covered, it will be super fast.

Is there anything participants should know about water stations, etc.?

Last year it was 8 degrees at the start of the race so we didn’t have a water station. It would have frozen before the runners could get any. It will depend on the weather this year. We do have a rescue squad from the South Milwaukee Fire Department on hand at the beach in case anyone has issues with the cold water.

New Year’s Day can be one of the coldest days of the year. Is there a heated space for runners to hang out before and/or after the race?

We have reserved the clubhouse at the Grant Park Golf Course for runners to hang out before and after the race. If numbers get high enough, we may also bring in a heated tent.

Any other comments?

We are excited about making this event a New Year’s Day tradition for Milwaukee-area runners.

Are you ready to take the plunge?

We’re giving away a free entry to the Polar Bear Dash! To enter:

  • Tell us if you plan to take a dip in Lake Michigan after crossing the finish line.

For additional entries do the following and let us know you did each action in separate comments:

Good luck! We’ll pick a winner at random on Wednesday, December 11 and announce the winner the following day. Be sure to check back on Thursday morning to see if you’re our winner!*

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

*Winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize by emailing If the prize is not claimed within that time frame, we will select a new winner.

28 thoughts on “All About The Polar Bear Dash + A Race Entry Giveaway!

  1. It is too cold, no dip in the lake for me!

  2. I would TOTALLY jump in the lake!

  3. I “Like” Keep Running MKE on FB

  4. I would jump in the lake after!!

  5. Shared on my Facebook page!

  6. I “like” Polar Bear Dash on FB

  7. Liked Polar Bear Dash on Facebook

  8. I follow on Twitter @werunthisdotorg

  9. Liked Keep Running MKE on Facebook

  10. Following @keeprunningmke on twitter

  11. Reblogged this on RunningMS and commented:
    Polar Bear Dash, a great way to kick start those New Year’s Resolutions!

  12. I will not be dipping 🙂

  13. i liked keeprunningmke on FB and invited my running buds!

  14. I would love to say I’m bada$$ enough to jump in the lake afterwards, but can’t guarantee I wouldn’t chicken out. Cold water scares me for no good reason, but perhaps this plunge would alleviate that ridiculous fear and make me more confident when it comes to the open water swim leg of a triathlon?

  15. Keep Running MKE liked on FB

  16. Polar Dash liked on FB

  17. Keep Running MKE followed on Twitter @HubbarttJen and @HarmonizedRun

  18. No way on earth would I jump in the water but I’d love watching the crazies go in!

  19. Absolutely would not jump in the water. If by some chance I win this, that means I”ll be doing back to back 5Ks New Years Eve & New Years Day (being only my 2nd & 3rd races ever).

  20. I am way to wimpy to go in the lake.

  21. I “like” Polar Bear Dash on FB

  22. Liked Keep Running MKE on FB

  23. I am following @keeprunningmke on Twitter

  24. I like Keep Running MKE on Facebook.

  25. I like Keep Running MKE on Facebook.

  26. I will most likely NOT be jumping into the water! I’m a cold weather wimp!

  27. I follow Keep Running MKE on Twitter.

  28. I like Polar Bear Dash on Facebook.

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