We did it!

Despite a threat of rain that never showed and not-quite-frigid ocean temperatures — meteorologist Dan Zarrow estimated the water lapping the Seaside Heights beach to be 42 degrees Saturday morning — more than 7,000 people came out to support Special Olympics of New Jersey as participants in the annual Polar Plunge.

In all, they raised more than $1.8 million as of 2 p.m., as they ran full speed from the sand and into the surf — beautiful chaos we captured from above, from the beach and from the waters themselves in the video above.

Even if you couldn't get to Seaside Heights yourself Saturday, you can still donate online. And you can track how donations are adding up at Special Olympics of New Jersey's donation thermometer for an up-to-the-moment total.

Special Olympics of New Jersey serves more than 25,000 athletes with year-round sports training and athletic competitions — adults and children alike. It provides its programs free to registered athletes — including all training, uniforms, sports equipment, meals and housing at state competition events, and medical screenings.

And for 22 of the 24 years the plunge has been held, New Jersey 101.5's has been front-and-center — emceeing the Plunge and partnering with the Law Enforcement Torch Run. Nearly every year, more money is raised than the last.

Participating individuals each raise at least $100 to plunge. Last year, the event raised more than $1.7 million alone.

The Seaside Heights event is one of three Polar Bear Plunges held each year for Special Olympics New Jersey — though the biggest by far. The Polar Bear Plunge at Wildwood raised $400,000 this past January, and the Thanks4Giving Plunge in Asbury Park raised nearly $25,000 in November.

We want to see your photos from the plunge! Send them to use via the New Jersey 101.5 app for Android or iOS. We’ll donate $100 to Special Olympics of New Jersey in honor of our favorite photographer!


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