Philadelphia's ODDyssey Half Marathon will open registration to the public at 10:00 AM on Monday, Jan. 4.  The ODDyssey Half Marathon is Philadelphia's hometown half.  Designed by local runner and race director Carl Ewald to be a race for runners, by runners it was recognized as Philadelphia's bucket list Half Marathon this year by Be Well Philly Magazine.

"Just like runners, good races evaluate and make resolutions every year to try to make the New Year better than any year before." says Ewald.  This year the ODDyssey is innovating and evolving.  New elements for race day include:

1.  Limited Transfers Allowed - In 2016 any runner who registers before January 31, 2016 will have a four-week opportunity in April to transfer their bib to another runner. There will be a transfer fee.  But, this should take much of your risk out of early registration while still leaving the race enough time to have all proper materials ordered and safely change runners.  But, even bigger news - If the ODDyssey is sold out by March 31, 2016, Ewald says they will extend the April transfer option to all registered runners.  

2.  Relay Option – The race is implementing a new relay option.  Relay Runners will each run one half of the race (just over a 10k) and earn inter-locking medals.

3. Pacer Option - Other races forbid them.  "But, we want to embrace those runners who can help encourage you through the last few miles of the race, especially for first timer half marathoners."  So, the ODDyssey will have options this year to allow runners to register a friend to run the last 5k with them.  Pacers will have to sign a waiver and agree to rules of participation.  But, the ODDyssey wanted to make sure your friends could support you as much as possible.

Ewald are also three things to keep in mind as Monday approaches:

1.  You can register before everyone else by joining the ODDyssey Half Marathon and Philadelphia Runner for a Resolution Run on Sunday January 3.  This free event is meant to shake off some holiday rust (and cookies) with a three mile run and party at the store at 16th and Sansom.  The run starts at 10:00 AM.  170 runners have already rsvp'd.  You can too here.  As a special incentive, the first 50 runners who register for the ODDyssey at the Resolution Run will receive a free LED beanie from the ODDyssey to help you get through the dark winter months.
 
2.  This is last year for the ODDyssey's Wall Mount Bottle Opener medals.  The medals have won awards for their creativity, design and usefulness from Runner's World Magazine, Outside Magazine, Competitor Magazine and others.   "Two years ago we revolutionized the medal concept.  As runners we wanted our medals to be both stylish and useful and the Wall Mount Bottle Opener Medal was the perfect solution."  Asked about retiring such a popular concept, Ewald answers: "I remember the first medal manufacturer told us our idea could not be done.  This month, I had two medal manufacturers contact me saying they had a new and innovative medal they could make for me. They did not realize they were bragging about copying my idea.  We want to be the best.  If races are now copying us, we feel we need to keep getting better and better." So, this is your warning that 2016 is your last chance to earn one of the ODDyssey's famous Wall Mount Medals.
 
3.  Gift Card Raffle – Whether you sign up at the Resolution Run or on Monday morning, sign up as early as possible.  The ODDyssey will be giving away ten $25 gift cards for Philadelphia Runner to runners who are registered for the race on Monday. That is one every hour from 11am to 9pm.  If you are registered by 11AM you will have ten chances to win.  

So, be prepared on January 4 at 10:00 am.  Better yet, win the race to register by coming down to Philadelphia Runner on January 3. Race day is June 12, 2016 and it is sure to be a blast. More information can be found at ODDysseyHalfMarathon.com.

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