The Polar Bear Challenges run from 1 November to 31 March and the aim is to complete a set number of swims and distances outdoors in the sea, river, lake or unheated lido during this period over the winter

The Polar Bear Challenge is run under the clothing rules of the International Ice Swimming Association and the Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation which means that the only attire allowed is one standard swimsuit ( which may not extend over the shoulders or below the knees ), a single standard silicone or latex swimhat ( no bubble or fancy hats), goggles, noseclips and earplugs if required.

Please read the FAQs if you need a medical support or other device because of illness /injury.

The Penguin challenge does not have any clothing rules so you can wear anything you like including wetsuit. gloves, boots etc.

Swimmers from all countries are welcome to take part but your winter swimming temperatures must be no higher than UK winter swimming temperatures.

You must be 18 or over to enter the Challenge.

Polar Bear Challenge and Penguin Challenge 2019/20

How it works - enter the Challenge by choosing your Challenge level and registering with EventBrite.

If, during the course of The Challenge, you find the going tough you can drop down through the levels but you can't go up. e.g. You can start as Jedi and drop down all the way to Penguin but you can't upgrade from Gold to Arctic.

Swim the swims relevant to your chosen level in your own time but make sure that you complete all the required swims and distances each month. For Jedi Challenge the specified swims do not have to be done in any particular order. You do not need to provide evidence of your swims other than for the Jedi swims at 7.00 degrees or less in which case a photograph of two thermometers recording the temperature needs to be submitted.

( Thermometers can be the aquarium type with a probe that you can pick upon ebay or something similar )

At the end of each month an online form will be emailed to you to complete and return confirming that you have completed that month's swims. There's also a facebook group so you can join in with the other Polar Bear swimmers and share pics and stories and get information.

You'll receive regular emails from MamaBear with hints and tips - especially in the run up to the start of the Challenge - and I'm always here to give advice should you need it.

Except for the Penguin Challenge only a swimsuit, single silicone hat, goggles and earplugs may be worn. No neoprene, wetsuits, boots or gloves may be worn.

When your final March swim is done you will receive a badge and certificate.