AZ Urbanathlon Changes Name Before November 5 Race Due to Lawsuit by Men's Health Publisher; Now AZ Urban Race

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AZ Urbanathlon, an obstacle-course race scheduled to take place on November 5 near Scottsdale, has changed its name to AZ Urban Race following a federal trademark complaint.

Rodale, the publisher of Men's Health magazine, says it owns the rights to the name "Urbanathlon" in the complaint it filed last week. Men's Health has operated its own Urbanathlon event since 2006 in various U.S. cities and overseas. One's taking place in New York on October 29, another in San Francisco on November 13.

In the events, participants jump over obstacles, climb walls, crawl under cars or perform other unusual challenges during a race of eight or 10 miles.

The local version runs through a three-mile, barrier-filled course and is scheduled to take place at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

Rodale, Inc., claims that AZ Urbanathlon and Mountainside Fitness, a local gym franchise organizing the event, swiped the event's name and concept. The complaint demands profits from the race, punitive damages and the destruction of all promotional materials that contain the Urbanathlon name.

But Tom Hatten, founder and president of Mountainside Fitness, says that he and Rodale now have worked everything out.

The name's been changed. T-shirts, billboards and other promotional material were trashed, as requested. The local event's Facebook and Twitter sites have been deleted and the domain name, www.urbanathlon.com, should be deactivated by tonight, says Hatten.

"It cost us $15,000 to fix this thing, so the race is going to lose money," he says.

Much of the profit, if any at this point, is intended to support the Make-a-Wish Foundation, he added.

The event has a few major sponsors, including the Arizona Republic.

Hatten calls the problem an "honest oversight" because he didn't think the term "urbanathlon" was trademarked.

"The race is going forward -- there's no change to that," he says.

A Washington D.C. lawyer for Rodale, Kevin Smith, declined comment.

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