Polar Bear Challenges

The Polar Bear and Penguin Challenges for 2018/19 season is now closed but please email MamaBear at polarbearchallenges@aol.com if you’d like to join the mailing list.

The Polar Bear Challenges run from 1 November 2018 to 31 March 2019 – registration form Here – please read ALL the following info carefully so you know the rules…..there’s also some FAQs Polar Bear Challenge – FAQs

You must be 18 or over to enter any of the Challenges

The Challenge is to complete a set number of swims and distances during this period over the winter – all swims are honesty swims and do not require proof although you must email MamaBear at PolarBearChallenges@aol.co.uk to let me know when you’ve completed each swim (and swim distance for Gold challengees).

If you cheat you are only cheating yourself !

All swims must be done in the sea, river, lake or unheated lido.

If you’re planning a winter holiday then for swims taking place outside of the UK the water temperature must be at the same number of whole degrees as the current maximum outdoor natural water temperature in the UK;


max UK water temperature 10.1 – all overseas swims must be below 11 degrees.

max UK water temperature 11 – all overseas swims must be below 11 degrees.

The challenge is run under the clothing rules of the International Ice Swimming Association 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. Shoes may be worn to enter or exit the water but they must be removed for the duration and distance of the swim counted for the challenge.

There are 3 Polar Bear Challenge levels –

Polar Bear Classic – swim 200 metres twice a month from 1 November 2018 to 31 March 2019.

Polar Bear Silver – swim 250 metres twice a month from 1 November 2018 to 31 March 2019.

Polar Bear Gold – swim 250 metres twice a month from 1 November 2018 to 31 March 2019 and a minimum total of 5000 metres during the Challenge period. ( see addendum #1 ).

* If swimming in an area where there is a noticeable current swimmers must swim the same distance against the current as they do with the current.

To enter the challenge swimmers must register and pay the registration fee of £7 for the Classic & Silver challenges or £10 for the Gold. There are a limited number of entries.

Swimmers may reduce their Challenge option at any time but may not increase it       

( see addendum #2 ).

Once the registration fee is paid no refunds are available for any reason.

The Polar Bear Challenge will support a nominated charity and 10% of the registration fees will be donated to them .

Swimmers are encouraged to raise funds for the same charity so as to make the greatest impact (or for a charity of their choice) and a team JustGiving page will be set up for donations so swimmers can have their individual fundraising targets linked to the Polar Bear Challenge or use the team donation page.

A badge and a certificate will be awarded to successful Polar Bears.

For each successful swim you need to email PolarBearChallenges@aol.co.uk and your swim will be recorded.

There will also be a facebook group to share pics and stories although email is the

recommended way to ensure your swims are officially recorded.

Swimmers swim at their own risk and are advised to read up on the effects of cold water swimming including cold shock response, afterdrop and hypothermia.

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