‘Bit of a challenge:’ Dedicated runners turn out for the Samson Stomp despite frigid temps

MILWAUKEE -- Hundreds of runners embraced the cold Sunday, Jan. 20 for a good cause at the Milwaukee County Zoo during the 39th annual Samson Stomp. Single-digit temperatures might be something people in Wisconsin are used to, but what about running in it?

"You have to listen to your body. You have to pay attention to the thermometer," said Mike Tetkoski, runner.

Sunday's cold temperatures didn't freeze the runners who laced up for the Samson Stomp.

"I've got a gator for my neck," said Tetkoski. "I've got a hat, and I've got some gloves."

Some runners wore no layers at all -- racing in just shorts in 5 degrees!

"Just keeping your ears, even your face covered up today is going to be a good idea," said Lisa Michel-Weis, runner. "It's cold. There's a little bit of wind. It'll be a little bit of a challenge for people who aren't used to it."

This wasn't the coldest start to a Samson Stomp. One year, it was -4 degrees at the starting line.

"Our grounds department actually worked almost 24 hours after the snow to get the grounds in good shape," said Jennifer Diliberti, Milwaukee County Zoo.

The Samson Stomp honors a famous gorilla named Samson, who died in 1981. All of the proceeds benefit animal care at the zoo.

From start to finish, the runners on Sunday proved Wisconsinites don't hibernate -- especially when it comes to raising money for a good cause.

"We have people that are used to this," said Diliberti. "We live in Wisconsin."

The Milwaukee County Zoo has never had to cancel a race due to weather. This year, more than $50,000 was raised.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.