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Teamwork Makes the Dream Work at Tough as Nails

Photo by Eric Ayres In front from left, Katelyn Mudge, Sydney Burkle, Nicole Brunner and Arden Wolle. In back, from left, are Jon-Michael Brunner, Eric Burkle, Drake Dobson, Isaac Rine

WHEELING – One successful attempt at the Tough as Nails Urban Challenge makes you a veteran, and most veterans not only return to do it again in the following year, they often bring some newcomers along for the fun, as well.

Then, they can hit the course as one big team.

Such was the case Sunday as a large group of participants – mostly from Wheeling, and one from Martins Ferry – gathered at Heritage Port before the Tough as Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan.

“I did it last year,” said Isaac Rine – the only veteran of the group.

Rine works on the West Liberty University Baseball coaching staff. He was able to rope in head coach Eric Burkle, and with some couples jumping on board, suddenly they had a team together for this year’s event.

“We talked about it in March,” Rine said. “We coach West Liberty baseball together. It was a team effort. I got him (Burkle) on board, and then everybody else just decided to do it.”

Some members of the group eagerly stepped up to participate, while others needed a gentle twist of the arm to do so, they indicated.

“He was like – he’s not running it without all of them,” Rine said of Burkle.

But the group seemed to be in good spirits and eager to tackle the course, despite the fact that Rine did not offer the newcomers any valuable tips or advice.

“The course changes anyway,” he said.

One member of the group, Arden Wolle, already proved that she was tough as nails – simply by showing up ready to go Sunday after completing the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic Run on Saturday.

“I feel pretty good,” she said. “We’ll see how it goes!”

The group said they intended to tackle the course as a team, and they went with the team motto “Run for Knoxx” in honor of 4-year-old Knox Yeager of Shadyside, a child whose siblings played baseball with some of the group’s kids and who was overcoming serious health challenges.

“He had a tethered spinal chord,” Wolle said. “He’s been in and out of multiple surgeries, so he’s in recovery now.”

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