‘Crab Pot’ Among Unique Obstacles At Tough as Nails Urban Challenge

WHEELING – What do you get when you take a heat of 200 adrenaline-filled fitness junkies, toss in a couple large wooden boxes filled with eyebolts and rope laced in a criss-cross pattern, and drop them in Center Wheeling on a Sunday afternoon?

Well, if it’s Memorial Day weekend, you get the Crab Pot, one of 20 obstacles participants in the inaugural Tough as Nails Urban Challenge will face when the event kicks off at noon Sunday, May 26, in downtown Wheeling.

The Tough as Nails is sponsored by the Ogden Newspapers and The Health Plan of West Virginia, and is the new entry this year in what’s come to be known as the Ogden Wellness Weekend.

The Crab Pot is the seventh obstacle participants will face on the course, and it comes just about 2 miles in to the 6-mile event. The obstacle is set to be located outside the Centre Market, and will follow the event’s signature obstacle, the Bucket O’ Nails, which will feature competitors quite literally carrying buckets of nails in an area along the Heritage Trail.

The Crab Pot is one of the more unique obstacles, as it has room for only about three competitors at a time to crawl and climb around the ropes. Depending on how many competitors arrive at the Crab Pot at one time, it would be easy to see tired and rushed participants finding themselves twisted and tangled up in the Crab Pot.

“This is one of the more fun and interesting obstacles we have on the course,” Tough as Nails race organizer James Gibbons said. “The key with this obstacle is to take your time and pick the right line through the ropes. However, when multiple people are going through at the same time, that’s going to be tough to accomplish.”

The Crab Pot, and all of the other obstacles, are being constructed at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. The same team that builds obstacles for the annual Mud on the Mountain event has been working with the Tough as Nails organizers, and getting items ready to be delivered to Wheeling.

Jay Sedlak is the events operations manager at Seven Springs, and has been overseeing construction of the obstacles. He said the goal in constructing the obstacles is to make them passable for all ability levels, but also tough enough so that competitors will want to come back for more in 2020.

“We want the Tough as Nails competitors to go back to work Tuesday morning and feel like they were tested, like they really had to push themselves to the limit to complete the course,” he said. “That’s hard to do when you have competitors ranging from elite athletes to weekend warriors, but we think what we’re putting together this year fits the bill.”

Sean Matthew, with the D.M. Matthew Inc. contracting firm, has performed most of the actual construction of the obstacles, which includes a Lumber Yard, a Rock Climb, the Corporate Ladder, Slot Machines and others. He said the process to date has been perfect, noting he’s excited to see competitors climb, carry and crawl through the items he and his team have built.

“Everything has worked out great so far, everybody has had great input and great ideas and it’s really been fun to be part of this,” he said. “I think the Tough as Nails is going to be really fun, and what a great event to cap the weekend.”

The Tough as Nails is the marquee event in the first-ever Ogden Wellness Weekend. The fun begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, May 25, with the 43rd running of the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic, the 5K Run and Walk for Health, the Ogden Fun Run and the Tiny Tot Trot, sponsored by OV Parent.

On Sunday, the Ohio Valley Trail Partner’s Heritage Trail Bicycle Tour pedals off at 8 a.m., with 10- and 30-mile legs. For the more seasoned riders, there’s also a 100-kilometer tour that heads through West Liberty and Bethany.

That’s followed at noon with the Tough as Nails.

Following events on both days is the recovery party.

There will be portable bars set up near WesBanco Arena by Carenbauer Distributing to serve water, soda or choice adult beverages to those of legal age, and a number of food trucks from throughout the region will be filling empty stomachs.

There also will be a number of local and regional bands both days, helping to fuel the festive atmosphere at Wheeling’s waterfront.

Also, those wishing to take part in the Scatterday Challenge–a grueling test of running or walking the Half Marathon on May 25, riding either the 10- or 30-mile leg of the bike race on May 26 and then completing the Tough as Nails–can register for all three events for $110.

Several participants already have committed to the challenge, and it’s Gibbons’ goal to have at least 25 competitors prove they’re tough enough.

The event is named for the late R. “Scat” Scatterday, longtime race director of the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic who died earlier this year.

Those who take part and complete the challenge will be honored with a specially designed T-shirt being created by The Wheeling Feeling. Also during the events, Scatterday Challenge participants will have their own race bib to wear during all three events.

Registration for the Scatterday Challenge or any of the individual Ogden Wellness Weekend events — the Half Marathon, 5K Run and Walk, Ogden Fun Run, Heritage Trail Bicycle Tour or the Tough as Nails Urban Challenge — can be done at ogdenwellnessweekend.com.


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