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Gallery: Polar Plunge and Donut Dash benefit Special Olympics

Dianna Hagler, of Makanda, reacts to the temperature of the pool water Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, during the Polar Plunge at the Recreation Center. The water was estimated to be 50 degrees. (Morgan Timms | @Morgan_Timms)

Runners take off from the starting line of the Donut Dash 5K race Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, at SIU. The dash consisted of three donut stations along its route. Runners received a one-minute reduction from their final race time for every donut consumed. The Donut Dash, and the Polar Plunge that followed, benefited the Special Olympics. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

Penny Bowser, a junior from Portage, Michigan, studying biological sciences and a member of the SIU swimming and diving team, eats a donut while making a stop along the route of the Donut Dash 5K race Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, at SIU. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

Jenna Gomez, 15, of Cobden, runs with the American flag along the route of the Donut Dash 5K race Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, at SIU. Gomez takes part in multiple races each year with her father, Joe Gomez. Jenna and Joe, a Navy veteran, race with the veterans organization Team Red, White & Blue. He said Jenna carries the flag in every race. The pair have been running together for 11 years. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

Amber Neal, a qualified intellectual disabilities professional at Our Directions, embraces Roberta Dillon, a member of her Special Olympics team, the Honeybees, before the the Polar Plunge on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, at the Recreation Center. Neal said Roberta, 72, has been competing in Special Olympics events with her twin sister, Barbara Dillon, for the past 50 years. “Special Olympics is probably the number one event they look forward to every year,” Neal said. (Anna Spoerre | @annaspoerre)

Rich Henley, of Marion, attempts to catch a football pass while dressed as a polar bear Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, during a Polar Plunge event outside the Recreation Center. The plunge raised money to support the Special Olympics. Henley said he is the head coach and founder of the Lightning Bolts, a Special Olympics agency with more than 40 athletes who compete in 12 different sports. “We stay busy year round,” he said. “We keep these kids happy and humming.” Henley said dressing like the polar bear is a tradition and this year it was his turn. He said the Lightning Bolts group was started for his son, John Henley, so he would have an avenue to compete. “Slowly but surely we just picked up an athlete here and there,” he said. “Everywhere we go we pick up an athlete. … When he graduated high school, he had no way to compete so we began our own agency with [John].” (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

Valerie Densler flicks her hair while participating in the Polar Plunge on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, at the Recreation Center. (Morgan Timms | @Morgan_Timms)

Amanijoi Roberts, 6, wears a Pac-Man costume while waiting for her mother, Ashaki Roberts, to finish taking the plunge during the Polar Plunge on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, at the Recreation Center. (Anna Spoerre | @annaspoerre)

Jennie Hagan, of Carterville, listens to a speaker shortly before the crowd lined up for a Polar Plunge event Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, outside the Recreation Center. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

Rachel Richard holds hands with members of her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta, before immersing themselves in 50-degree water Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, during the Polar Plunge at the Recreation Center. (Morgan Timms | @Morgan_Timms)

Paxton Andolsek, 5, of Carterville, leads his 7-year-old friend, Tristin Burroughs, of Carterville, through a pool of water Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, during the Polar Plunge at the Recreation Center. (Morgan Timms | @Morgan_Timms)

John Wojcik, a senior from Des Plaines studying marketing, takes a dip during a Polar Plunge event Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, outside the Recreation Center. Wojcik said this was his third year plunging and fourth year volunteering at the Polar Plunge. “It goes to a great cause,” Wojcik said. “It’s icy cold for a couple seconds, but you feel great after.” The plunge raised money to support the Special Olympics. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

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