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Local Weightlifter Presses Urban Challenge

Justin de la Cruz

WHEELING – Weightlifter Justin de la Cruz, who holds West Virginia records with the U.S. Powerlifting Association, on Sunday powered his way through the Ogden Newspapers Wellness Weekend Tough as Nails Urban Challenge in Wheeling.

De la Cruz, 34, is the owner of Ohio Valley Barbell in Bridgeport. He can bench press 350 pounds, full lift 445 pounds and squat over 500 pounds. He also has degrees in heart therapy and psychology.

“I do it for the mental health. I’ve learned how to manipulate the mind through weightlifting,” de la Cruz said.

He admits he is “not so much into running,” but he has been involved in fitness for the past 13 years.

When he saw the posting for the urban challenge, he immediately wanted to take part.

“It popped up, and I said sure,” de la Cruz noted.

To prepare, he hosted and participated in the Annual Murph Challenge at his gym on Saturday, with 31 signing on to that event. The Murph Challenge takes place annually across the nation in honor of fallen Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy. It consists of a 1-mile run, 100 pullups and 200 pushups, followed by 300 squats and a second 1-mile run to end.

De la Cruz wasn’t daunted by what awaited him on the obstacle course Sunday.

“I don’t know what the obstacles are,” he said. “I plan to just wing it.”

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