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Dec 4, 2021
Competitors work their way through the Tough as Nails Urban Challenge in 2019 during the Ogden Wellness Weekend. This year’s Tough as Nails, presented by The Health Plan, will feature even more obstacles and a longer course. (File Photo)
WHEELING — For the first time in two years this coming Memorial Day weekend, runners in downtown Wheeling may take their marks.
The Ogden Newspapers Wellness Weekend presented by WVU Medicine returns for the first time since 2019, and road warriors — be they recreational runners, more advanced distance stars or those looking for a multifaceted urban challenge — will have the chance to participate in several events focused on fitness, fun and family.
Registration for all of the weekend’s events — the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic, the Tough as Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan, the Ogden 5K Run presented by Ziegenfelder, the Ogden 5K Walk presented by Ziegenfelder, the Ogden Tiny Trot and the Ogden Fun Run, both also presented by Ziegenfelder — is open now at ogdenwellnessweekend.com.
The inaugural weekend in 2019 was a popular one, but the COVID-19 pandemic put the event on the shelf for the next two years. That hiatus ends May 28 and May 29, as the events once again have received the green light.
“Everyone associated with the Wellness Weekend is looking forward to a great weekend of events,” said Perry Nardo, general manager of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register. “We are grateful to our sponsors for staying with us over the past two years.”
The weekend’s marquee events each have a day to themselves. The 44th running of the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic will happen Saturday, May 28, with the walk starting at 7:30 a.m. and the run starting at 8 a.m. On Sunday, May 29, the Tough As Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan kicks off at noon.
Runners are plenty familiar with the 13.1-mile half-marathon course they’ll traverse that Saturday morning. The Tough As Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan course, a popular one that took contestants up, over and around numerous obstacles in several Wheeling neighborhoods, will have some new features, according to event organizer Jim Gibbons.
“It’s going to be a more challenging Tough As Nails course,” he said. “We’re planning to add more obstacles, bigger climbs, to the already challenging course. We’re going to add more upper-body obstacles, including rope climbs and some more walls.”
Gibbons said contestants considered the stair climb in East Wheeling the course’s toughest component, and the new upper-body obstacles will balance out the strain. With the new obstacles planned – which could push the total to 25, Gibbons said – the course will get longer, from the 6 miles in 2019 to almost 7 miles this coming May.
The first Tough As Nails attracted 700 people to the course. Gibbons said there’s plenty of buzz surrounding its return. The event gives contestants something beyond the usual mud run to test their endurance.
“What we offer is an urban run, which is very unique,” he said. “We’re incorporating existing structures within the city to scale and climb and jump over. We want to give people a different view of what’s in the city.”
For those looking for a lighter workout during the Ogden Wellness Weekend presented by WVU Medicine, there are plenty of opportunities for all ages to get out and get the blood flowing. The Ogden Newspapers 5K Run presented by Ziegenfelder will start at 8:10 a.m. May 28, with the Ogden Newspapers 5K Walk presented by Ziegenfelder following at 8:20 a.m. For the younger set, there will be a Fun Run presented by Ziegenfelder at 8:25 a.m. May 28 and a Tiny Tot Trot presented by Ziegenfelder at 10:30 a.m.
On Monday, May 30, the Ohio Valley Trail Partners will hold the Heritage Trail Bicycle Tour starting at 7 a.m.
To celebrate finishing any of the events during the Ogden Newspapers Wellness Weekend, a party will populate the waterfront both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s festivities will go from 7:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. and Sunday’s will go from 1-6 p.m. They will feature a beer garden, plus Bloody Marys and mimosas, along with a DJ and several bands.
Event organizers are ready for a weekend full of fun.
“I am very excited that the Wellness Weekend is back on schedule,” Nardo said, “and I am sure that all of the runners, walkers and urban warriors are looking forward to getting out and challenging themselves and competing with each other.”
“Words really can’t explain how excited we are to start this back up and bring the community back together,” Gibbons said.
For more information on everything about the Ogden Newspapers Wellness Weekend presented by WVU Medicine, visit ogdenwellnessweekend.com.
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Ogden Newspapers Wellness Weekend Presented by WVU Medicine Back on Track for 2022 – Wheeling Intelligencer