RIDGWAY, ELK COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ)– A running group in Elk County began their New Year’s Day run more than 20 years ago.
Since then, the Elk County Striders have gained more runners, and removed more clothing.
With their sneakers on, and a funny hat or two, that’s just about all you’ll find these runners wearing down Main Street in Ridgway on New Year’s Day.
“It’s the Almost Naked Mile Run and Clarion River Polar Bear Dunk.,” Striders president Ben Zappa said. “It didn’t start with that name, but that’s what it is now.”
It actually started in 1998 as a normal run in full running gear.
By 2013, it transformed into what the event is today.
“I came up with this, what we’re still doing today,” Zappa said. “We’re going to run from here to the courthouse in bathing suits.”
After the courthouse, they head to Sheetz.
“Yelling Happy New Year and people are looking at us like we’re nuts,” Zappa said.
Once their Sheetz run is done, they jog to the Clarion River and jump in.
“It could be 20 degrees out and you just don’t feel it because you’re excited to do this,” Zappa said.
The Elk County Striders running club started in 1983. They currently have 279 members.
The club holds a number of races throughout the year.
To learn more about them, visit their website here.