The University of Indianapolis hosted the annual Polar Bear Run and Walk on Feb. 15 of 1997 according to a Feb 4. issue of The Reflector. According to The Reflector, the idea of the Polar Bear Run and Walk originated from former UIndy faculty member Susie Fleck and was able to become an annual event due to the high number of participants.
The first Polar Bear Run and Walk took place in 1982 and was hosted in Indianapolis, according to The Indy Polar Bear Winter Classic. The events—the 5K, the 10K and The Bear— feature runs throughout different locations in the Indianapolis area, according to the Carmel Road Racing Group.
When the event was hosted at UIndy, it offered a five-kilometer run, according to The Reflector. Now the event offers the five-kilometer run, a 10-kilometer run and The Bear, which features both distances according to the Indy Polar Bear Winter Classic. When the Feb 4. 1997 issue of The Reflector came out, 3,000 runners participated in the run and walk when it was hosted at UIndy’s campus.
This year, the 42nd Annual Polar Bear Run and Walk took place on Feb. 18th at the CityWay YMCA in downtown Indianapolis, according to The Indy Polar Bear Winter Classic. Later, the event held a post-race party at Metazoa Brewing Company to offer cash prizes for the winner of the race, according to The Indy Polar Bear Winter Classic.
According to The Reflector, the run began on a corner of Hanna and Matthews Avenue and ended at the Ruth Lily Center on campus.
Runners who wish to compete in the 15-kilometer run, The Bear, have to run both the 5K and the 10K in order to qualify, according to Indy Runners and Walkers.