New Year’s plunge
by Bob Brownne
Jan 04, 2013 | 4492 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Chilly start to the New Year
J.T. Amador of Tracy dives into the chilly water of Eagal Lakes after his 5K run on Tuesday, Jan. 1.  Bob Brownne/Tracy Press
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EAGAL LAKES — The sounds of the new year included the chattering of teeth as a group of revelers started 2013 with a jump into the frigid waters of Eagal Lakes Resort next to the San Joaquin River.

The resort hosted its second Polar Run and Dunk on Tuesday, Jan. 1, and 55 people ended a 5-kilometer run with a quick dive into the resort’s man-made water-ski lake.

Organizers didn’t record the exact temperature of the water, but estimated it was about 40 or 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

People who dove in and swam to a line of buoys about 20 feet out said it was colder than they expected.

“It was a shock,” said Tracy Doige, 35, of Modesto.

“All you think about it getting to the rope, and when you get to the rope you try to put your feet down and you can’t. So then you’re kicking in freezing-cold water, and then you start to mildly panic. But it was a lot of fun.”

Briana Castelanelli, 33, of Lodi, did the dunk at the urging of her friend, Shaya Walters, who knew Castelanelli is a running fanatic and would appreciate a new challenge.

“I couldn’t breathe when I hit the water it was so cold,” Castelanelli said. “They said frigid, so I figured it would be pretty darn cold, and it was.”

Eagal Lakes co-owner Karen Eagal said more than 100 people signed up for the event, with 82 runners completing the run.

Jeff Samson, 45, of Oakley was the overall winner of the run and dunk with a time of 22 minutes, 34 seconds. In the past, he has started the year by waterskiing on the Delta.

“It’s traditional in a lot of areas to go into the water — either dive in, go hot tubbing, or go water skiing,” Samson said. “This was the first time I’ve been in a (New Year’s Day) run. What better? You can put the two together.”

Susana Perez, 24, of Oakland, was the women’s overall winner of the run and dunk in 28:50. She participated with her cousin and training partner Carlos Perez of Tracy.

She said the cold water’s shock was a good test that will help prepare her for tougher races she has planned for later in the year.

“It was my sixth 5K run, but never into the cold water. That took it to a different playing field,” she said. “We have a Tough Mudder and a Spartan Race in 2013, so this is a baby step to that.”

Carlos Perez added that the more challenging the race is, the better.

“We’re just addicted to these now,” he said.

• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or
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