Dozens participate in Mystic Run and Swim during freezing temper - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Dozens participate in Mystic Run and Swim during freezing temperatures

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MYSTIC, CT (WFSB) -

The New Year's Day Run and Swim in Mystic has been a tradition for almost 50 years. 

Runners jump into the frigid Long Island Sound after a run, and many still took the plunge even though this year was probably their coldest year.

The runners gather near downtown Mystic at noon and they are off, running nearly 4 miles to Esker Point. 

"Why no, happy new year. Carpe Diem, happy new year," said Tom Thorndike of Noank. 

The New Year's Day Mystic Swim and Run began in 1969, started by former Boston Marathon winner, John Kelley, as a fun and wacky thing to do to kick off the new year. 

The runners now gather at the statue erected in Kelley's honor, many wearing wacky clothes only to strip them off and plunge into 2018. 

It was 13 degrees outside when the run took place and the water is less than 40 degrees. 

Runners said the initial pain is over quite quickly, kind of like when you get a flu shot, and then they say the feeling is pure exhilaration. 

"Sudden coldness all over your body and then the desire to jump back in," said Bill Pilling, who has run the race for 47 years. 

Many people have been running the race for many years and those runners say they are crazy and that's just the way they like it.

"Einstein said the definition of insanity is to do something over and over again and expect different results, but this year is going to be cold. This is going to be an epic year, this is going to the coldest year ever," said Steve Fagin, who has been participating for 47 years. 

Many runners continue to participate each year because of the exhilarating feeling. 

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