Tough as Nails Urban Challenge is today in Wheeling

John McCabe OBSTACLE COMPETITION — Sean Matthew, Dean Maraugha and Jake Hauger make their way through the Crab Pot, one of the 20 obstacles competitors will face in the inaugural Tough as Nails Urban Challenge today in Wheeling.

WHEELING — Would you prefer to visit the “meat grinder” or climb the “Stairway to Heaven” today?

If you registered to participate in the inaugural Tough as Nails Urban Challenge, you can do both — and much more.

These are just two of the 20 obstacles that will be part of the challenge, which begins at noon today in Wheeling. The event is part of the larger Ogden Wellness Weekend, which kicked off Saturday with the 43rd running of the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic and also includes the Ohio Valley Trail Partners’ Heritage Trail Bicycle Tour at 8 a.m. today.

The obstacles in the Tough as Nails are spread across a 6-mile course. They were planned and constructed by the staff at Seven Springs Mountain Resort, which annually puts on the “Mud on the Mountain” event.

The competition won’t just test participants’ mettle; its also will provide them with a unique perspective on Wheeling, organizer James Gibbons said, noting the course will go through areas of the city that many people never encounter.

“From the abandoned Chapline Street tunnel to the Ogden Printing Center warehouse to 400 steps climbing through East Wheeling, Tough as Nails is going to showcase parts of the city many didn’t realize existed,” Gibbons said. “This event is not going to be just about the competition itself, but also providing a new perspective of the urban layout of downtown Wheeling and its surrounding neighborhoods. That’s what make it such a unique opportunity.”

Tough as Nails, sponsored by The Health Plan of West Virginia, also will be fan-friendly, as spectators will have an easy walk to at least half of the obstacles.

“The Tough as Nails also takes the best part of the Ogden Half Marathon – the 1-mile downhill finish – and adds in some really challenging obstacles,” Gibbons added. “People are going to be amazed at what they see at the end. The finish line at 14th Street really is going to be awesome.”

The Wellness Weekend is about more than just the competition — it’s also about community. Following the Tough as Nails, Wheeling’s riverfront will take on a festive atmosphere with live music, a beer garden and multiple food vendors as participants and their friends and families enjoy the scenic views of the Ohio River.

For more information, visit ogdenwellnessweekend.com.

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