Polar Bear Club

Polar Bear is a winter running club at Ames High School. The purpose is to keep runners in shape in between the cross country and track seasons and to, “just have fun,” in the words of junior Rahul Seshappa. “This year for Polar Bear we have more people doing polar bear than the year before. On every run there are about 20 to 30 people at polar bear,” said senior Jonah Tibbets. This unofficial club started when Tim Mooney began coaching about five years ago. The attendance policy isn’t strict. “You can show up whenever you want, or you can not show up,” said Seshappa. The workouts are decided by fellow students. “It’s been me a couple of times, usually it’s a junior or senior,” said Seshappa. “[These workouts consist of] mainly easy runs, but sometimes we go on the track and do some interval stuff, but mostly easy stuff. Basic stuff,” said Seshappa. This club is not for the faint-hearted. Polar Bear runners put in a lot of mileage. “Between easy runs which are about four to five miles, to workouts that we do on the track, Polar Bear puts in about ten to fifteen miles a week,” said Tibbets. Doesn’t sound too bad yet? Besides the challenge of completing the mileage, runners must also endure extremely cold temperatures. “When the temperatures start to drop into the teens to zero degrees or even negative temperatures Polar Bear Club is in its prime,” said Tibbets. Because of the extreme cold, runners must have extra gear. “When winter starts to throw down and the temperatures start to fall it’s a good idea to invest in running gear such as a hat and gloves. It’s recommended that you get Under Armour or running tights because it does get really cold sometimes,” said Tibbets. As with any club, Polar Bear members participate in a number of team building activities. “We play lava tag a lot of times on Fridays. And actually, one time we did wall sits and we had two people walk across our legs,” said Seshappa. Another favorite tradition is the Dairy Queen run. “On the first day we get a legit amount of snowfall and it has to stick and stay, we all go to Dairy Queen and buy blizzards and run back with side cramps. That run is always a lot of fun,” said Tibbets. So if you are feeling the winter blues, join Polar Bears. It meets Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday by the gym balcony after school at 3:25pm. “You can get in shape and stay running after cross country, it’s a fun experience and it’s really chill. You’ll have an ice time,” said Seshappa.