WHEELING — For the first time in two years this Memorial Day weekend, runners in downtown Wheeling could get their bearings.
The Ogden Journals Wellness Weekend presented by WVU Medicine returns for the first time since 2019, and road warriors – whether recreational runners, more advanced distance stars, or those looking for a multi-faceted urban challenge – will have the chance to participate in several fitness, fun and family-oriented events.
Registration for all weekend 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 now open to ogdenwellnessweekend.com.
The 2019 inaugural weekend was a popular one, but the COVID-19 pandemic put the event on hold for the next two years. This hiatus ends on May 28 and 29, with events once again given the green light.
“Everyone associated with the Wellness Weekend is looking forward to a great weekend of events,” said Perry Nardo, Managing Director of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register. “We are grateful to our sponsors for sticking with us over the past two years.”
The weekend’s headline events each have a day to themselves. The 44th edition of the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic will take place on Saturday, May 28, with the walk starting at 7:30 a.m. and the race 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 familiar with the 13.1-mile half-marathon course they will run this Saturday morning. According to event organizer Jim Gibbons, the Tough As Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan course, a popular course that has challenged competitors over and around numerous obstacles in several Wheeling neighborhoods, will feature new features.
“It’s going to be a tougher course, Tough As Nails,” he said. “We plan to add more obstacles, bigger climbs, to the already challenging course. We will be adding more upper body obstacles including rope climbs and some additional walls.
Gibbons said competitors find the stair climb in East Wheeling the most difficult element of the course, and the new upper-body obstacles will balance the tension. With the new obstacles planned – which could bring the total to 25, Gibbons said – the course will grow from 6 miles in 2019 to almost 7 miles next May.
The first Tough As Nails drew 700 people to the course. Gibbons said there was a lot of buzz surrounding his comeback. The event gives competitors something beyond the usual mud race to test their endurance.
“What we offer is urban racing, which is very unique,” he said. “We incorporate existing structures into the city to scale, 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 there and get the blood pumping. The Ogden Newspapers 5K Run presented by Ziegenfelder will start at 8:10 a.m. on May 28, followed by the Ogden Newspapers 5K Walk presented by Ziegenfelder at 8:20 a.m. For the younger ones, there will be a fun run presented by Ziegenfelder at 8:00 a.m.: 10 p.m. on 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 host the Heritage Trail Bicycle Tour starting at 7 a.m.
To celebrate the end of one of the events during the Ogden Newspapers Wellness Weekend, a party will populate the waterfront on Saturday and Sunday. The Saturday festivities will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and those on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. They will include a beer garden, Bloody Marys and mimosas, as well as a DJ and several bands.
The event organizers are ready for a weekend full of fun.
“I’m so happy Wellness Weekend is back on schedule,” Nardo said, “and I’m sure all runners, walkers, and urban warriors are looking forward to getting out there, challenging themselves. and compete with each other.”
“Words really can’t explain how excited we are to start over and bring the community together,” Gibbons said.
For more information on all things Ogden Journals Wellness Weekend presented by WVU Medicine, visit ogdenwellnessweekend.com.