Polar Plunge challenge goes viral

You may have noticed your Facebook newsfeed recently becoming home to a new viral trend. Contrary to what you may believe, participants of the Polar Plunge are not clinically insane.
The challenge consists of two parts. First, the participant nominates friends to complete the challenge via video, closing with the ultimatum, “you have 24 hours.”
Next, the chosen ones jump into freezing-cold Lake Bomoseen for a few seconds. There’s nothing at stake except bragging rights and the ability to challenge others to see if they have what it takes to endure the icy endeavor.
The Polar Plunge was introduced to Castleton by students Meghan Hakey, Max Walker and Chris Belanger.
Hakey, who saw videos of the new trend in New Hampshire, jokingly challenged Belanger to jump in Lake Bomoseen. Belanger made the jump, challenged Walker and Hakey in return, and the ball began rolling.
Since Belanger’s introductory jump, dozens of Castleton students have followed suit.
The popularity of the challenge came as a surprise to Hakey.  

“I expected it to be us three, being dumb and jumping into Lake Bomoseen,” she said in a phone interview. It has gone much further, spanning cliques and social groups of all types.
Some participants have gotten creative with the challenge.
Molly Howard, a junior at Castleton, was nominated twice. She completed the challenge last week as she jumped into the lake wearing a pair of onesie pajamas.
“First two seconds, you can’t breathe – at all,” she said.  “Once you do jump, the first words are either screams or swear words,” she added.
Chris Kiernan, a 2012 Castleton alum, didn’t wait 24 hours after he was challenged. He gracefully belly flopped his way into the 30-degree waters of Lake Bomoseen only a few hours after he was called out.
“I’ve seen a lot of people chicken out,” he said. “I didn’t want to be in that category.”
According to Hakey, the shores of Lake Bomoseen have been buzzing with people completing the challenge.
Whether it’s pride, fun or craziness you crave, the Polar Plunge can help you find it.

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