AZ Urban Race, Formerly AZ Urbanathlon, Faces Possible Restraining Order in Trademark Case; Race Scheduled for November 5

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AZ Urban Race, formerly AZ Urbanathlon, has yet to clear all the hurdles in a lawsuit filed by the publisher of Men's Health magazine.

As we reported on October 18, the obstacle-course race hosted by Mountainside Fitness was slapped with a lawsuit by Rodale, Inc., the magazine's publisher. Men's Health has run its own, trademarked Urbanathlon since 2006, and didn't take kindly to the Arizona event's unauthorized use of the name.

Tom Hatten, founder and president of Mountainside Fitness, told New Times he'd made an "honest mistake" in not realizing the name was trademarked. He trashed his event's T-shirt, Facebook site and domain name, saying the last-minute switch cost the event about $15,000.

He thought he'd smoothed things out with Rodale. But now it seems that the publishing company won't be satisfied unless it kills the event entirely.

On Tuesday, Rodale filed a motion in federal court seeking an emergency injunction to stop the Arizona race. (See below.) A judge has yet to rule on it.

Ronin Gardiner, the publisher of Men's Health, filed paperwork in support of the motion, saying that Men's Health promotes its own Urbanathlon event in the 30,000 copies of the magazine distributed each month in Arizona. Gardiner says any "negative experiences" at the Arizona race will be associated with the Men's Health event, causing a drop in sponsors.

The problem is, scratching the well-promoted Arizona event won't be all that positive, either -- it'll be a let-down for hundreds (maybe thousands) of eager competitors.

The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com are major sponsors of the AZ Urban Race.

We'll keep you posted on what happens.

Here's the request for the restraining order:

Motion for TRO - Filed

and the original federal complaint:

az urbanathlon

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