This run actually started in Lower Lawrenceville, but most of it was in the Strip District. To visitors, the “Strip District” sounds like a red-light district full of lurid adult stores and “Gentlemen’s Clubs”. There might be one or two clubs here, but more than that, it is a strip of wholesale stores for produce, pasta, fish and meat. Recently there has been an influx of boutique coffee shops and upscale condos. There’s also a good share of trinket shops, full of sports gear. While beauty lurks everywhere, in the Strip District, you might have to look a little harder.
But, back to the run. This was a Steel City group run starting from 11th Hour Brewing. (Neat place, go check it out!) As it is STILL January, the run, again, started in the dark. It wasn’t too cold, though, and, with no ice or snow on the ground, it was ideal running conditions. The official route went down Butler Street and Penn Avenue to 21st Street, turned around, came back to 11th Hour and then ran a couple of miles in the other direction. However, I knew that I would be running up and down these streets ad naseum during marathon training, so I opted to run a different route, Mulberry Way.
Mulberries are plentiful in this region. They live on the border of pleasant and pest. Enterprising individuals can make jams and pies out of the berries. Here’s a blogger who found ten ways to use them. Less enterprising people just try to avoid the plentiful berries as they pile deep in the yard, or on your windshield. Oh yeah, birds love them, so there’s the bird residue, too. At any rate, Mulberry Way is a long alley that runs nearly two miles through the heart of the Strip District. It is a back alley. Back doors of restaurants and stores open onto it. Garbage bins line it. One thing you won’t find are mulberries. There are a few apartments whose front doors come out onto the alley. As I run along, I can’t help but think “Who would want to live there?!” During rush hour and Saturday mornings, drivers attempt to circumvent traffic by zooming down Mulberry Way. But not tonight. Tonight, it is just me running along the flat alley, peering into back kitchens and lighted doorways as I ghost along.