There was still snow on the ground, but the scene at the 5K Run to the Plunge Feb. 1 was juxtaposed with runners in shorts and T-shirts. Mother Nature offered a reprieve from the recent snow and frigid temperatures to provide a mildly warm weekend for the Lewes Polar Bear Plunge events in Rehoboth Beach.
More than 500 competitors took advantage of the warmer weather to run the 3.1-mile course and support Special Olympics Delaware. Steve Eshelman, 20, cruised to the win, crossing the finish line on Maryland Avenue in a time of 17:40. He was followed in by William Schaffer in 18:06, David Marshall in 18:53 and Adam Marshell in 18:54.
Rebecca Lewandowski finished fifth overall and was the first female competitor to complete the course, in 19:25. Rounding out the very competitive women's top five were Christine Marks in 20:18, Jennifer Lucas in 20:22, Leanne Carson in 20:42 and Jen Cawthern in 20:52.
More than $725,000 was raised during the whole Polar Plunge weekend. On Feb. 2, 3,252 people plunged into the 34-degree Atlantic Ocean off Rehoboth Beach. In its 23 years, the event has raised more than $7.525 million for Special Olympics Delaware.