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Ultra Challenge Offers Three Times The Exercise

|Photo by Derek Redd| Wheeling resident Darrell Tustin is participating in his second straight Ultra Urban Challenge presented by Bordas & Bordas.

The triple threat of running, cycling and urban obstacles wasn’t enough to keep Darrell Tustin away from participating in the Ultra Urban Challenge presented by Bordas & Bordas. That event is for those hardy enough to tackle the three main tasks of the Ogden Newspapers Wellness Weekend presented by WVU Medicine – the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic, the Wheeling Heritage Bicycle Tour and the Tough As Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan.

Tustin was one of the first people to sign up for the challenge last year, and he was back again Sunday.

“Being in Wheeling and growing up here and running the streets when I was a kid, it all brings back memories,” he said. “It’s nice.”

Tustin signed up for the Half Marathon run this year, running some parts and walking others. He wanted to make sure his wife Desiree, who was participating for the first time, enjoyed her experience. He went solo on the 15-kilometer trail of the bicycle tour Sunday, but was joined by Desiree and his son Brodye for the Tough As Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan.

Tustin admitted there were some grueling parts of the weekend, but they didn’t overpower the enjoyment of getting around Wheeling.

“It’s the adventure,” he said. “It’s a pain going up 29th Street hill, but it’s beautiful. It’s like you’re in the woods, but you’re not.”

Wheeling resident Ellen Nau is no stranger to this athletic feat, having competed in all three events since the first time they all took place during the Ogden Newspapers Wellness Weekend presented by WVU Medicine.

Nau is also no stranger to pushing herself athletically, having competed in ultra-marathons nationwide, including Ohio, Texas and Utah. With this wide range of competition locations, Nau has amassed a group of friends around her age who compete in different races together.

Before the Tough as Nails on Sunday, Nau said she was “thrilled” that some of her running buddies would join her for the challenge.

“I have a group text with some other friends that I’ve done ultras with, and I accidentally texted them the link to the Wellness Weekend website,” Nau explained. “I told them, “Oops, wrong group,” and they looked at the link and said, “Oh no, we’re in.”

Due to her mistake, a group of friends and family from Michigan, Ohio and Virginia were joining Nau for Sunday’s Tough as Nails challenge.

“I was a little nervous having them (her teammates) come here because we were under construction,” Nau said in reference to the ongoing Streetscape work occurring in the city. “I told them, ‘OK, just be prepared for construction.’ I feel like we can just go as a team and have a good time on the course today.”

Apart from having friends and family join her from far away, Nau enjoys the Ogden Newspapers Wellness Weekend presented by WVU Medicine since it allows her to compete in challenging events in her hometown. She explained that recovering from yesterday’s half marathon at her home was much easier than in a hotel room.

“I still had to push myself out of bed this morning for that bike ride,” Nau added.

While she was “a little sore” from yesterday’s race, Nau described the 15-kilometer morning bike ride as “very nice and restorative.”

Nau was most excited to take on the obstacles during the Tough as Nails race, but she joked that she had a “few concerns” about some of them.

“I’m nervous about the spinning obstacle because I’m so short,” she said. “It can be a tough landing when you get off some of these obstacles, and there’s no cushion on the ground.”

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