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Tough as Nails Urban Challenge Completes Ogden Wellness Weekend

WHEELING — Obstacles such as the “Meat Grinder,” “Corporate Ladder,” “Paper Trail” and “Slot Machine” are among 20 that will face competitors during the inaugural Tough as Nails Urban Challenge this Memorial Day weekend.

The Ogden Newspapers, The Health Plan of the Upper Ohio Valley and the city of Wheeling have set the stage for the new event, which is set to start at noon Sunday, May 26, at 14th and Main streets.

The 20-obstacle, 6-mile challenge will push participants to the limit, taking them from the start at 14th and Main streets, through Center Wheeling to Tunnel Green, then a 300-foot elevation gain to Wheeling Heights followed by a 1-mile downhill run on Chapline Street to the finish line, also at 14th and Main streets.

Competitors can either run or walk from obstacle to obstacle. The obstacles are being designed and built by the team at Seven Springs Mountain Resort, which hosts its annual “Mud on the Mountain” race each year.

“The enthusiasm and support that (The Health Plan CEO Jim Pennington) and I have received from everyone involved in this new idea has been sensational,” said Perry Nardo, general manager of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register. “The open-minded, let’s-get-it-done approach really shines a spotlight on the commitment the leaders of our community have to new ideas and growth.”

“The Ogden Half Marathon Classic has been a staple of Wheeling’s fitness culture for decades and we’re pleased to help usher in a new era of fun and fitness with the expansion of the Ogden Wellness Weekend,” Pennington said. “Adding the new Tough as Nails Urban Challenge will not only expand the focus of fitness in downtown Wheeling, but also provide another unique family-friendly event that has something for everyone to enjoy! On behalf of The Health Plan, we are excited to partner with the Ogden Newspapers as a sponsor for this event.”

The Tough as Nails Urban Challenge is part of the larger Ogden Wellness Weekend, which begins Saturday, May 25, with the 43rd running of the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic. The festivities on May 26 begin with the annual Ohio Valley Trail Partners Heritage Trail Bicycle Tour, set to kick off at 8 a.m., followed by the Tough as Nails event.

Wheeling’s riverfront will take on a festive atmosphere following the Heritage Trail Bicycle Tour and Tough as Nails challenge as participants and spectators can enjoy live music, a beer garden and multiple food vendors while they enjoy scenic views of the Ohio River.

If you’re not up for an urban challenge, there’s still plenty to do over the Memorial Day weekend.

First, on Saturday, May 25, the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic will take to the streets of Wheeling for its 43rd running. The grueling, 13.1-mile event is considered one of the toughest half marathons in the nation. The Half Marathon also includes events such as a 5K run, the family-friendly Ogden Fun Run, and the always popular OV Parent Tiny Tot Trot.

Then, on Sunday, May 26, the day starts early — 8 a.m. — with the Ohio Valley Trail Partners’ 12th annual Wheeling Heritage Trail Bicycle Tour. The event features three rides for all cycling levels: 62 miles, 30 miles and 10 miles. All three rides primarily utilize the Heritage Trail, but the 62-mile ride leaves the trail near the Ohio/Brooke County line for a loop through Bethany and West Liberty, with a stop at Bethany College.

Nardo commended the Ohio Valley Trail Partners for working with the group to become part of the larger wellness weekend.

“The Ogden Half Marathon, the Tough as Nails and the Wheeling Heritage Trail Bicycle Tour really tie the weekend together from a fitness standpoint,” Nardo added.

Doug Wayt, president of the Ohio Valley Trail Partners, said the wellness weekend could also be a plus for bringing families to Wheeling, as the wide range of outdoor offerings has something for everyone.

“There’s also a great opportunity for the city of Wheeling to showcase things that are happening to make our city a better place — a youth-revisited city, in a sense — while creating new fitness opportunities,” Wayt said.

For more information on the Tough as Nails, the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic or the Wheeling Heritage Trail Bicycle Tour, visit ogdenwellnessweekend.com.

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