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More participants expected for Urban Challenge course

Photo by Scott McCloskey Making plans for the 2020 Tough As Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan are, from left, Joe Lovell, Ogden Half Marathon race director, Eric Anderson, Tough as Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan race director, Jeff Knight, The Health Plan interim president and chief operating officer, and Wendy Hodorowski, The Health Plan marketing & communications director.

WHEELING — Building on the success of last year’s event, organizers of the Tough As Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan are anticipating a big jump in numbers as excitement for the Memorial Day weekend event builds.

The event, which is part of the Ogden Newspapers Wellness Weekend presented by WVU Medicine, boasts 20 obstacles sure to test even the fittest competitor’s mettle. It is set for noon Sunday, May 24, and traverses a 6-mile, body-breaking course through the city of Wheeling.

Jim Gibbons, coordinator of the Tough as Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan, said last year’s inaugural event, which saw more than 700 entrants, was very successful. He noted registration numbers this year already are “pacing ahead” of 2019.

“We are just building on the success of last year,” Gibbons commented. “What we’re really doing this time is taking the best of the course and obstacles from last year and kind of building on it. … We are tweaking a few things and adding some bigger obstacles,” he added.

Also, as part of growing the event this year, the Corporate Challenge will be incorporated into the Tough as Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan, giving local businesses another event in which to register their employees.

Ogden Half Marathon Race Director Joe Lovell said it’s great to have The Heath Plan on board for a second year as the urban challenge’s sponsor, noting the company and its employees help ensure a great event.

Officials at The Health Plan also are pleased to again be part of the event.

“We are really looking forward to this year’s event. This is an event that many of our employees participated in last year and the feedback was great,” said Jeff Knight, interim president and chief operating officer at The Health Plan. “We hope to have more participate and join in on the fun. The Tough as Nails Challenge is a nice addition to the Wellness Weekend and we are happy to be a part of it.”

The Health Plan marketing & communications director Wendy Hodorowski added, “As a personal participant in the inaugural event last year, I can say without a doubt that I will be doing it again this year. It was so much fun and truly a unique experience.”

The Tough as Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan is just one of many events scheduled for the Ogden Wellness Weekend presented by WVU Medicine, set for May 23-24. The weekend celebrates two days of fitness, food, fellowship and fun in downtown Wheeling to officially kick off the summer.

Along with the Sunday event, the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic will celebrate its 44th running this May. Wheeling’s distance race remains a popular event, and along with the Tough as Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan and the Heritage Trail Bicycle Tour, is part of the annual Scatterday Challenge.

∫ What’s new in 2020

Along with a few minor changes to the Tough as Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan’s course, there is a new start time for the 5K Run (8:10 a.m. May 23) and also the addition of an awards ceremony for both the 5K and also the half marathon. The 5K awards will be presented at 11 a.m. May 23, with the Half Marathon awards at 12:30 p.m.

∫ What returns in 2020

Back again this year is the recovery party, which allows competitors to celebrate with their friends on the waterfront. The Saturday recovery party will begin at 7:30 a.m. and run until 2 p.m., while Sunday’s party runs from 1-6 p.m. This year’s party will feature a beer garden, a DJ and several bands. Also, this year an ATM will be on-site, and participants will have the ability to secure their items – keys, a wallet, etc. – prior to taking part in their event.

For those brave souls there is the Scatterday Challenge, named in honor of late Ogden Race director R. “Scat” Scatterday. This challenge consists of running or walking the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic; biking the 10- or 30-mile legs of the Heritage Trail Bicycle Tour; and then completing the Tough as Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan.

For more information or to register for any of the events, visit ogdenwellnessweekend.com.

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