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Polar Bear Winter Classic - 42nd Annual - Polar Bear is Back!

Sat February 24, 2024 Indianapolis, IN 46225 US Directions


Race Website

Additional race information can be found at


425 South Alabama St
Indianapolis, IN US 46225


Saturday, February 24th - Polar Bear is Back!

Irsay Family CityWay YMCA

Join us for one of the oldest races in Indianapolis: the 42nd Annual Polar Bear Winter Classic 5K, 10K & The Bear! This historic race is always strategically placed on the calendar on the third Saturday in February and the first major road race of the year in Indy.  The race offers a unique format including a 5K, 10K or The Bear (5K + 10K)  The Bear is the challenge that allows you to run both distances, one after the other, for a total of 9.30 miles.

BREAKING NEWS: SJC Racing is proud to bring back the Polar Bear Winter Classic for the 42nd year in 2024. 

Official Shirt, Medal and the Wear The Bear details coming soon...

Continuing with tradition, the Polar Bear Winter Classic offers cash prizes. age group awards in all three event distances. Post race celebration details coming soon...

Race Contact Info

If you have any questions about this race, click the button below.



  1. If I am running The Bear, is it one 9.3 mile race?"
    • The Bear is a special challenge made up of the existing 5K and 10K races. Run these as two standalone events. For scoring purposes, your times will be combined. To participate in The Bear, you must be able to finish the 5K within 45 minutes in order to make the start of the 10K event.
  2. Do I have to pick up my packet on Friday? Can I get it on race morning?
    • Picking up your race packet on Friday at Irsay Family YMCA at CityWay is highly recommended to avoid lines. Friday packet pickup hours are 4:00 PM-6:30 PM.
    • Race Day pickup is also available to all participants. Race day packet pickup is from 7am to 8:15 am
  3. What's the course like?
    • The 5K and 10K use similar, but not identical courses. Both courses utilize typical city streets in and around downtown Indianapolis. The courses is well-marked and supported by volunteers and local public safety.
  4. Are the courses certified?
    • The Courses are not USATF-certified.
  5. Are walkers allowed?
    • Walkers are encouraged to participate! Just note that if you are participating in The Bear (5K + 10K races), you'll need to complete the 5K under 45 minutes from the gun. 10K walkers must be able to maintain a 16 minute-per-mile pace.
  6. How many medals do I earn for running The Bear?
    • All participants earn one (1) medal for their effort during the event. 5K runners and walkers will receive theirs when crossing the line after the 5K race. 10K participants and those doing The Bear will receive their finisher medal upon completion of the 10K race.
  7. Are dogs allowed?
    • Dogs are allowed in the 5K race, but not the 10K . To comply with city laws and for the safety of those around you, dogs must be on a leash. We ask that dogs start toward the back.  NOTE: Only service dogs are allowed inside the Irsay Family YMCA at CityWay
  8. I think I won an award! What do I do?
    • You can check your finish time and place at the Results Tent, located near the finish line. Age group awards can be claimed at the Results Tent. Please note: age group awards will not be mailed.  Top 3 overall female and male finishers in each event will receive their cash awards after the complete results are finalized. 
  9. What if it rains? What if it snows?
    • Polar Bears love snow! This race is a "rain or shine" event. Participants are encouraged to use common sense, adjusting for the conditions. That said, we want to have a safe event for both our participants and volunteers. If conditions warrant, a delay or cancellation may be necessary. In the unfortunate event of a cancellation, refunds will not be issued.
  10. I can no longer participate. Can I get a refund?
    • We do not offer refunds or deferrals.
  11. Is there a host hotel for this event
    • Hotel information coming soon.


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