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Polar Bear 5K ends with Polar Plunge in South Milwaukee: “A great way to start the new year!”

SOUTH MILWAUKEE -- It's a New Year's Day tradition in Milwaukee. On Sunday, January 1st some entered the frigid water of Lake Michigan -- for fun!

They jumped, walked or dove into Lake Michigan -- the culmination of the Polar Bear Dash -- a 5K race that stepped off at South Milwaukee's Grant Park Sunday morning.

Polar Bear 5K, Polar Plunge in South Milwaukee

"A little cold, but worth it!" one participant said.

Before that though, they got their 2017 started with a little exercise. The 5K race started at the Grant Park Golf Course and went along the Oak Leaf Trail -- ending on the beach.

Polar Bear 5K, Polar Plunge in South Milwaukee

While it was cold, runners were happy to see the sun shinning and the lake still in liquid form.

"In Wisconsin standards, 30 degrees, sunny, a little wind -- this is as good as we`re going to get in January, so this is pretty good!" Michelle Tanem said.

Polar Bear 5K, Polar Plunge in South Milwaukee

Tanem takes part in the Polar Bear 5K every year, and said it's the best way to begin the new year.

"It offers us an opportunity to be fearless, to face something that makes us a little bit uncomfortable, but to have a lot of fun in the meantime," Tanem said.

Tanem was one of about 75 people who took the Polar Plunge!

Polar Bear 5K, Polar Plunge in South Milwaukee

"It feels great. If you`re going to do the Polar Plunge, might as well do it at the end of a 5K when you're hot and it feels good," a runner said.

Race directors said this race is popular because it happens on the first day of the year, giving people the opportunity to get off to a healthy start.

Polar Bear 5K, Polar Plunge in South Milwaukee

"Start the year off on the right foot, and then the left and just keep going," Bill Schneider said.

Runners were treated to a warm bonfire and hot chocolate while toasting to the start of 2017.

Polar Bear 5K, Polar Plunge in South Milwaukee

"I think it`s a great way to start the New Year," Tanem said.

A portion of the proceeds from the Polar Bear Dash benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society-Wisconsin chapter.

Results will be posted HERE. 

CLICK HERE to learn much more about the 2017 Polar Bear Dash.