This Saturday, if you’re willing to overcome the winter doldrums, brave the cold and test your fortitude, the inaugural Ironmen Ice Plunge is looking for participants, as well as those who simply want to come out and cheer them on.
Hosted by the Danville Health Alliance, the plunge will be held at noon at the Frosty Valley Resort pond, at the 18th hole. Registration begins at 11 a.m.
Christian Force, president of the alliance and owner of ALTERA Life in Danville, said a special guest and participant at the plunge will be local and world-renowned athlete April Warrick, a marathon and ice water swimmer. Last summer, she became the first American woman to swim from Italy to France via the Bonifacio Channel. Force said at the end of February, she is planning to participate in an ice swim in New York, in a pool that will be chipped out of a frozen lake.
The idea for the ice plunge event began with ALTERA trainer Brandon Dalberto, who Force said had been wanting to see an event like this come to Danville.
“He and April are the most excited,” Force said. “They’ll be leading the way, I’m sure, into the cold water. The first ones in and the last ones out.”
He added with a laugh, “I’ll be waiting with towels.”
Force said the alliance hopes to make this an annual event, and to see it grow. They envision centering the event around a different cause to raise money for, or spotlighting a local athlete each year.
For the first year, he said, “We’d love to see 50-plus participants. That would be amazing. Over a hundred altogether — including a nice crowd to cheer them on.”
The event is a celebratory culmination of the Danville Health Alliance’s month-long Vision 2020 emphasis on Mindful Living programs. Each of the six health-centered businesses that make up the Alliance offered their own unique focus for this emphasis for the entire month of January.
One of those businesses is the Resurrection Movement Studio.
Owner Hidi Horikoshi said they focused on a “mindful movement” aspect, breaking down simple movements that people are probably already doing during their workouts at the gym, and giving them tips on how they can make these movements better, from hand and shoulder positions to push-ups to foot mechanics. They also provided education on the most effective way to do planks.
Other businesses that are part of the alliance are ALTERA Life, Longevity Health and Fitness, StudioB Yoga Center, Reflex Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and the Danville Area Community Center.
Horikoshi said he enjoys being a part of the Danville Health Alliance, and is looking forward to the plunge as their next event.
“I like any event that we can put together,” he said. “The fact that we can collaborate to put on an event to benefit the community is fantastic.”
This one will surely be a unique one to see, and he encourages people to come out and participate.
“Brave the cold, and challenge yourself,” he said. “I think there are a lot of benefits in putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation, in a safe way, to test your inner strength, and do something that you never thought you could achieve.”
Force said The Iron Fork will provide complimentary hot beverages and said “everything is vegan friendly.” Gas fire pits will also be fired up at the scene.
“After the plunge, you’re encouraged to hang out and talk,” Force said.
Mahoning Township Cold Water Rescue will be on the scene as a safety precaution.
Proceeds for the event will support the Danville Health Alliance’s continued community events, including its Health Fair in August.
“Face your fears,” Force encouraged. “It’s going to be a good time. It’s winter time; it’s definitely dreary. Come out and have some hot chocolate, meet new people, help the Health Alliance to raise awareness, and be part of a bigger movement.”
The non-profit Danville Health Alliance was officially formed in February of last year, under the umbrella of the Danville Business Alliance.
“Six competing businesses came together to form a non-profit, and concentrate on the bigger picture — the wellness of the community — rather than just trying to pull everyone to our personal businesses,” Force said.
“What we hope to accomplish through the alliance is bringing health to the forefront,” Horikoshi added.
“In the fitness industry, there’s a lot of competition. What the Danville Health Alliance does is break down those barriers. We just want what is best for the community.”