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River Shiver returns to Ogdensburg

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OGDENSBURG — “River Shiver” began with the sound of chain saws Saturday morning, as Ogdensburg Rescue workers cut a hole in the ice for adventurous polar plungers to jump into later.

It takes about an hour and a half to cut through the 15-inch sheet of ice coating the St. Lawrence River.

“It’s good and thick,” Ogdensburg Rescue worker David A. Montroy said.

Those who wanted to be part of the plunge raised money to benefit the Ogdensburg Chamber of Commerce and Ogdensburg Rescue. Whoever raised the most money took home 10 percent of the total raised.

At 1 p.m. the plungers took the leap, many dressed in outlandish costumes for the occasion.

“It’s absolutely hysterical, some of the costumes. It’s so much fun,” said Sandra M. Porter, executive director of the Ogdensburg Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Montroy was not among the plungers. He said he had already had his fill of cold water.

“I get plenty wet anyway,” he said.

Before the plunge, about 100 people ran or walked in the third annual Polar Bear 5K, to benefit the Ogdensburg and Lisbon Lions clubs.

While most of the participants were local, some came from the far reaches of the country to race. The fastest male and female runners were from Chicago and Seattle, respectively.

“We have a lot from all over,” event organizer Rhonda L. Roeth said.

The winners in each age group were awarded medals.

“It’s a good course. They clean it up pretty well, and the sun is out and it’s not snowing,” said Craig S. Thornhill, Ogdensburg.

Jacob T. Pellerin, 14, was among the first runners to cross the finish line.

“Me and my mom did this run,” he said. Jacob is an athlete at Lisbon Central School. Compared with his training for basketball, soccer and baseball, he said, the frigid race was no sweat.

While others ran or prepared for the polar plunge, some took to the ice for the “Battle of the Bay” walleye fishing derby to benefit Wounded Warriors Outdoor Adventures, with the winners taking home $700.

River Shiver events will continue through the week, wrapping up with a Battle of Ogdensburg re-enactment Saturday.


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