MAHOMET — Cold weather and rain didn’t stop the annual Mahomet Polar Plunge & Donut Dash this year, and hundreds of participants and spectators came out to support the Special Olympics.

More than 300 people took part in the events March 9 at Lake of the Woods, according to Vanessa L. Duncan, Region I assistant director of development for Special Olympics Illinois, based in Charleston. Just over $62,000 was raised, she said.

Braving the cold water were 291 people for the official Polar Plunge, while 86 took on the Donut Dash, and around 160 spectators gathered, Duncan said. The plunge had volunteers who raised at least $100 in donations to leap into the lake, while the Polar Donut Dash 5K, held in conjunction with the teeth-chattering water activity, had participants complete a 5K while, if they chose, stopping along the way for doughnuts. Each doughnut consumed by a racer meant a minute deduction from the runner’s overall time.

The funds raised by the combo of events go directly to Special Olympics Illinois Region I, which covers the counties around Champaign, Danville, Decatur, Mattoon/Charleston, Paris, Effingham and Shelbyville, Duncan noted. The money helps provide free year-round sports training, competitions, healthy athlete initiatives, Young Athletes programs, and Athlete leadership opportunities to local Special Olympics Illinois athletes.