On Saturday afternoon, in between the women’s and men’s hockey games, a blur of colorful, hollering, half-dressed Bowdoin students sprinted around campus for no particular reason other than to have fun on a chilly winter day. The horde of runners – some in body paint, others in costumes or bathing suits – took off from the Watson Arena, ran down Coffin Road, and then barreled their way through the Smith Union and Druckenmiller Hall before running around the quad and back to the hockey rink.
“We startled some studiers, who then joined in,” Sam Hanson ’11 said. Clearly, books were no match for the infectious spread of the runners’ “passion and cheer.”
Hanson helped organize the run with the A-Team, short for Alcohol Team, which highlights and organizes campus activities that don’t involve alcohol. He described the Polar Bear Run as a “new-age adaptation of a tradition we found out about that used to happen in Bowdoin’s old age. We wanted a winter tradition that would make a bright spot in the cold season.”
The A-Team liked the idea of reinventing the Polar Bear Run because it promotes fun that’s not centered around drinking, Hanson explained.
More than 100 people ran in the sprint, roughly half men and half women, according to Hanson, and more than $700 in prizes were given away, including an iPad and gift certificates to local stores and restaurants. The Polar Bear Ax was given to Mason Moss ’12 and Hartley Brody ’12 for showing the most “fire and spirit,” Hanson said. “Not only did they run the race at a ferocious pace,” he explained, but they also gathered a crew decked out in bow ties and paint who cheered throughout the run and both hockey games.