picture by: John McCabe
WHEELING — The fields are ready, and as the sun rises over the Ohio Valley on Saturday morning, throngs of riders will be getting their bearings to rekindle a Valley tradition — which has a few new rides to go with it.
The Ogden Newspapers Wellness Weekend presented by WVU Medicine kicks off this morning in downtown Wheeling following a COVID-forced hiatus in 2020 and 2021. Those traveling downtown will be able to enjoy a myriad of events Saturday and Sunday that promote fitness and fun for the whole family.
“We couldn’t be happier to bring Ogden Wellness Weekend presented by WVU Medicine back to the Ohio Valley community,” said Perry Nardo, Managing Director of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register. . “Of course, none of this would be possible without our wonderful sponsors and volunteers. I offer them a huge thank you for helping us promote health, happiness and family fun in the region.
The weather in Wheeling should make this comeback enjoyable. According to the National Weather Service, there’s a 20 percent chance of rain before 2 p.m., and clouds will give way to sunshine in the afternoon. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid to high 50s at the start of the event and warm to the mid 60s by noon.
Runners of all ages will take to the streets of Wheeling on Saturday morning, some covering longer distances than others. The Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic will hold its 44th race, with walkers starting at 7.30am and runners on the course at 7.50am. Competitors will traverse neighborhoods across the city from downtown to Elm Grove to Fulton, taking in hills along the way.
Those looking for a good, albeit shorter, run will enjoy the Twin Pops 5K Run/Walk for Health, brought to you by Ziegenfelder. The walk will start at 7:30 a.m. and the run at 8:00 a.m.
The young runners will not sit idly by on Saturday. A pair of tracks is just for them. Children 12 and under can participate in the Ogden Newspapers Fun Run, presented by Ziegenfelder. The one-mile run will take kids through downtown Wheeling. Children 5 and under can participate in the Tiny Tot Trot, presented by Ziegenfelder, a 100-yard race on Water Street near Heritage Port.
Saturday entertainment will start early. DJ Jan Jursa will be spinning tunes from 7:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Also at 7:30 a.m. that day, the Ultra Bar, sponsored by Carenbauer Distributing Corp., will open. There, runners and spectators can purchase beer, hard seltzer, and other beverages. There will be kiosks to check IDs and buy drink tickets and ATMs will be on site.
Additionally, WVU Medicine will host a health expo on Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. inside WesBanco Arena. There, WVU Medicine will have representatives from Nutrition Services, Women’s Services, Orthopedic and Sports Medicine, and the Heart and Vascular Institute.
Another fun day Sunday
The focus of the weekend shifts from road runners to urban warriors on Sunday, as the Tough As Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan kicks off at noon. The course will take participants over six miles of shadow around Wheeling, sending them over, around and through various obstacles.
The focus will be more on upper body challenges this year, as well as some additional elevation.
Live entertainment is on the menu on Sundays, as local rock band Spinning Jenny take the stage from 1:30-3 p.m. that day. Then, after another DJ set from 3-4:30 p.m., Pittsburgh band Jukebox will take the stage from 4:30-6 p.m. The Ultra Bar will be open from 1 p.m. on Sunday.
The WVU Medicine Health Expo will run Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and food trucks featuring a number of different cuisines will be on hand both days.