Frigid temperatures awaited those brave enough to take the Reindeer Plunge at Central Park Dec. 18.

Center Junction

The first ever winter 5K and polar plunge in Central Park lived up to organizers’ expectations on Dec. 18.

“For the first year doing it, we weren’t quite sure what the turnout would be, but we were ecstatic with the results,” Justin Bader with B & W Racing Services, LLC, said. “Turned out to be a perfect day for it.”

The event in the inaugural year raised $1,000 for four different charities: the Austin Strong Foundation, the Chelsey’s Dream Foundation, Shop with a Cop and Holiday Hugs, gifts for students considered homeless. Unity Point Health – Jones Regional Medical Center matched $5 of every entry fee toward one the four causes. The funds were raised through participation in the Candy Cane 800 m run for those 10 and under, the Polar Run 5K and the Reindeer Plunge.

Bader said that the hope among him, Jess Bader, Nic Weers and Heather Weers was to at least have 50 participants. That goal was achieved.

“Once we went over 50, everyone after that was just a bonus this year,” he said.

The race ended up with 55 participants.

Aside from hitting their participation goal, the race itself was well received, according to feedback from participants.

“Everybody loved the course. Everybody loved being out at Central Park,” Justin Bader said. “It was a very difficult course to run, a lot of hills, a lot of trails…but everybody loved the park scenery. It was something different than running in a town or a city where all you see is concrete, and streets and buildings.

“You’re out with nature, and everyone really enjoyed that.”

Because of the lack of snow, runners were able to be out on the trails—something that might not be possible in future events. So, the route may not look the same year in and year out.

Participants also enjoyed the chilling dip into Central Park Lake—though there was a quick rush out following the jump off the pier.

The goal is to take the inaugural run and plunge and make them annual, taking place every year around Christmas time. Bader said they were thankful to have the support of the Jones County Conservation Department as partners and emergency responders on standby.

“It’s always good to get off to a good start,” Bader said.

5K times


1. Drew Pate, Anamosa, 18:52

2. Casey Mente, Tipton, 19:24

3. Chesney Capron, Monticello, 20:04


1. Leah Koehler, Monticello, 23:38

2. Lauren Welter, Hopkinton, 24:49

3. Ava Capron, Monticello, 25:40

Jr. men

1. Nolan Weers, Center Junction, 23:52

2. Alex Prull, Monticello, 24:18

3. Axel Brandsmeier, Monticello, 24:43

Jr. women

1. Lumen Brandsmeier, Monticello, 27:31

2. Emma Olsem, Solon, 28:06

3. Katelyn Mente, Tipton, 29:21

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