Wellness Weekend packs city for fitness and fun

WHEELING — As the sun rises over the city of Wheeling this morning, hundreds of participants and thousands of spectators will pack downtown for the latest edition of the Ogden Newspapers Wellness Weekend presented by WVU Medicine, a two-day celebration of physical fitness and family fun.

The weekend offers opportunities to get out and get moving for all ages and fitness levels – from runners to walkers to cyclists to urban warriors. The overall participant field is bigger than last year’s and that should lead to a joyous atmosphere in and around Wheeling.

“The Ogden Newspapers Wellness Weekend presented by WVU Medicine is one of the highlights of our year,” said Perry Nardo, general manager of The Times Leader, The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register. “It’s invigorating to see so many people come together over these two days to participate in healthy activities, enjoy each other’s company and enjoy so much of what makes Wheeling great.

“We couldn’t do this without the wonderful help from our sponsors and volunteers,” he added. “We also couldn’t do it without the year-round commitment from our employees. Their devotion is crucial in making this one of the premier summer events in the Ohio Valley.

“Everyone’s contributions are essential in making this weekend the fantastic kickoff to summer in the Ohio Valley that it has become,” Nardo added. “We thank them and everyone who is participating in the numerous events. Good luck to all of them.”

While there is rain in the forecast both today and Sunday, it shouldn’t fall on participants as they’re grinding through their respective events, according to WTRF Chief Meteorologist Zach Petey. This morning’s weather should be dry with a temperature of 68 degrees when the races begin, Petey said. Rain is forecast to enter the area sometime this evening.

That might make for some soggy conditions Sunday when the Tough As Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan kicks off at noon, but there shouldn’t be any more precipitation until a chance for evening showers creeps back in. The temperature around noon Sunday should be 83 degrees, Petey said.

Today’s events begin early, with the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic Run kicking off at 7:15 a.m. and the walk following at 7:30 a.m. The 5K Run and Walk presented by WVU Medicine Children’s begins at 7:45 a.m. with the run and 7:50 a.m. with the walk.

The kids will have plenty to do Saturday morning, too. The Ogden Fun Run presented by WVU Medicine Children’s, which takes children ages 12 and younger around downtown Wheeling, begins at 8:30 a.m. The Tiny Tot Trot presented by WVU Medicine Children’s, for kids 5 and under, follows at 10 a.m. on Water Street near Heritage Port.

A bar will open at 7:30 a.m. today. ID is required.

WVU Medicine also will hold a health expo outside of WesBanco Arena. Physical therapists will be on hand for post-race massages and emergency personnel will be available to treat any issues. Information also will be available for the myriad other services that WVU Medicine provides in the Ohio Valley.

More Fun On Sunday

Cyclists will get their chance to hit the road Sunday morning. The Heritage Trail Bicycle Tour will begin at 7 a.m. and feature 15-kilometer, 50-kilometer and 100-kilometer rides.

Then comes the Tough As Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan, a challenging course with plenty of obstacles for urban warriors to tackle. Among the new obstacles this year will be a “Slip N Slide” set up near the top of the Robert C. Byrd Intermodal Center that will give participants a chance to cool off during the run.

Some participants are brave enough this weekend to tackle the three most challenging events – the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic, the Tough As Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan and the Heritage Trail Bicycle Tour – all in one weekend. Those hardy souls will complete the Ultra Urban Challenge presented by Bordas & Bordas.

Live entertainment will rock downtown, starting with The Vindys from 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m., followed by Billy The Kid and the Regulators from 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m.

The bar will be open at 10 a.m. Sunday and food trucks will be available to grab a bite on both days. The WVU Medicine health expo will run again Sunday.


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