This past weekend was the ODDyssey Half Marathon in Philadelphia. The run was the traditional Half Marathon course in Philadelphia. Which is running around the Schuylkill river (a pretty site for running). Although this one was a little different in the sense that you ran a portion through Fairmount Park. One of the largest parks the city of Philadelphia has to offer.
What made this one so difficult were the hills. There were 3 hills in particular. One right before mile 5, the second was about a minute after that one ended and the 3rd (probably the steepest) was at mile 13. The first two hills weren’t awful. They were steep for sure, but a lot of my training has been uphill so I ran up them without a problem. The problems started after the first 2 hills. I was worn out so I was still running, but at a much slower pace. The 3rd hill was a monster and at the very end of the race. If there were 40 people within my line of site at that hill, maybe 2 were actually running it (not this guy). So I walked that hill for the most part. It was very steep and after running 12 miles it just wasn’t in the cards to be running up that monster.
The course itself was fun. The tagline for the run is “Serious Run + Serious Fun”. And I could see what they meant. Throughout the course they had a few stops where you could play a quick tailgating game. They had Cornhole, Can Jam and a few others. Personal note- Cornhole is my game. I don’t know why but I absolutely love it. I was passing the cornhole set up they had at mile 5 and I thought “wow isn’t that cool”. But initially didn’t want to stop for it because I was trying to PR. Then I remembered the 10 mile race I had last month. It was the Broad Street Run where Center City Philadelphia clears out for all the runners. I kept thinking how cool it would have been to get a picture at a point in the road where it is usually littered with traffic. It was a once in a lifetime kind of moment that I passed up. All for what? I am not placing top 3 in these races. Sure I want to get the best time, but looking back on these races I won’t remember my times I will remember the races themselves. So this time I decided to stop and play a little cornhole. For those who don’t know the point of the game is to throw a bean bag onto a board set up about 8 feet away, or even better into the hole in the middle of the board. Each runner who played got 1 throw. So I stopped, threw the bag, and put it inches from the hole. Not bad for having just run 5 miles.
Outside of that the run was a lot of fun and really hard. And now I am a 2x Half Marathon runner!
It was hot out for as early as it was, and I think they have less hills on the Rocky Mountains. I didn’t PR like I wanted to (which that idea flew out the window after the first two hills) but I did have a lot of fun while doing it. ODDyssey did a pretty good job with everything. The bib pick up was pretty easy, they made getting to the starting line pretty simple (given that the starting line was off the beaten path as far as Philly is concerned) and overall it was a great experience. The only critique I would make was they were giving away a souvenir drinking glass for this run. However they only gave it out after the run while you were standing in line for a beer. I enjoy my beer, but after a Half Marathon I don’t want to do anything but get in the car and get home to rest. In the future it would make sense to give this away at the bib pick up. A lot of people complained they didn’t get theirs for that same reason. None the less it didn’t take away from the event.