BRRRRRave in the Attempt!

3,254 Chill Seekers Raise $1.62 Million for Special Olympics Virginia at 32nd Polar Plunge®

Virginia Beach, VA – Our penguin colony returned to their nesting place in Virginia Beach this weekend for the 2024 Polar Plunge benefiting Special Olympics Virginia (did you know it is common for penguins to come back to the same nest annually?). 3,254 colony members were “brrrrave in the attempt” (shout-out to the Special Olympics athlete oath) as they dashed, splashed and raised a record-breaking $1.62 million – and counting! – for Special Olympics Virginia, marking the event’s thirteenth million-dollar year.

By The Numbers
Polar Plungers
5k Runners
Cool School Plungers
Million Raised

“We are so grateful for everyone who was part of today’s Polar Plunge,” said David Thomason, President of Special Olympics Virginia. “Your participation helps Special Olympics Virginia change the world, as we continue to create more inclusive communities across Hampton Roads, and throughout Virginia. Everyone is represented at the Polar Plunge — those with intellectual disabilities and those without; those of all ages, genders, races, faiths and backgrounds. Not surprisingly, our Special Olympics Virginia athletes once again led the way toward this year’s success. Thanks to all for being brave enough to #GoForTheCold, and for being brave enough to partner with us as we transform our communities so that all are welcomed, all are respected, all are included, and all are valued.”

In addition to the main event, students and teachers went for “cold” Friday, Feb. 2 at the Cool School Challenge. 638 students raised $89,380 in support of Special Olympics Virginia’s 21,000+ athletes. One lucky duck – oops we mean penguin – Campbell Teague, a student at Plaza Middle School, took home the top fundraising prize and will get to join Craig Moeller live on 13 News Now’s Daybreak morning show after the event.

Friday evening, 450 runners and walkers dashed during the 5K Glow Run/Waddle along the boardwalk. The Friday festivities continued at the Pre-Plunge Party on the beach, featuring music by DJ Julian and plunge-themed drinks thanks partners, Tito’s Handmade Vodka and White Claw.

Saturday, before the Plunge at 1 pm, plungers and festivalgoers enjoyed more music by DJ Julian, the TJ Maxx Boardwalk Boogie Costume Parade and Contest, vendors, a life-size sand sculpture, food and fun.

While they weren’t all wearing penguin-like tuxedos (penguin camouflage has a special name, countershading, by the way), we couldn’t have done it without each and every plunger, runner, partner and volunteer in our incredible colony. Here are a few additional highlights:

  • The Ice-Aholics team took home the Top Team fundraising award, with more than $78,513 raised. 
  • Robert Bell raised $16,973 and claimed the top individual fundraising prize and some cool bragging rights. 

This year’s event is presented by The Wawa Foundation, Virginia Natural Gas, Walmart, FM99, 106.9 THE FOX, WTKR NewsChannel 3, WGNT, the Knights of Columbus, Sinclair, the Virginia Tourism Corporation, Davis Ad Agency and the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Virginia. Since 1993, more than 63,700 plungers have raised more than $21.1 million for Special Olympics Virginia. The inaugural Polar Plunge took place in 1993 at the Clarion Hotel when 108 plungers raised $11,000 for Special Olympics Virginia.

This event is one of five Polar Plunges in Virginia. In addition to the Virginia Beach event, our first Polar Plunge took place in Richmond in December and raised $63,000. It was followed by our second Plunge in Northern Virginia at the Mosaic District in January, which raised $92,000. Still to come are a Plunge at Leesylvania State Park Saturday and one in the New River Valley, both Saturday, Feb. 17. You can still register for both of the February events at