Highland Park Running Club (HPRC) is a new group on the Pittsburgh running scene. It is mainly publicized through Strava and word-of-mouth. While the ‘club’ might be new, the runners are familiar faces to me, having run with most of them. Today’s run was part of their coffee passport series, where they run from different coffee shops each Sunday. This week, they were running from Colony Cafe. Colony Cafe is in the Strip District, but almost downtown. I drove by on time, but with no immediate parking, I had to circle around, eventually parking a few blocks away. As I got out of my car, the group had started running in my direction. As they passed, I started running with them. This was my second run since my fall, and I just couldn’t keep up. Going across the 16th Street Bridge, I gradually fell back. It wasn’t that they were going tremendously fast that day, I was just very slow. I saw glimpses of them, as they ran along East Street and made the turn onto Federal Street.
I continued up Federal Street. It was a sunny and a bit chilly. Ahead of me an older man started running up the hill. I thought, “there’s a local runner, I’ll follow him”. Federal Street goes from the Northside flats to the top of the hill overlooking it. It was quite a climb and I almost caught the other runner as we approached Lafayette Street. Going uphill felt good on the knee and I decided to run up Seabright Street. I hoped it would go through, but alas, it dead-ended at a house, in spite of how the Strava map looks. Those houses were cute and well kept with great views of the downtown.
At the top of the hill, I looped down toward the left, traveling down West Burgess Street. At one empty corner lot, there was a memorial to baseball players, I think primarily Negro League players. It was at an empty lot along Burgess Street. There were about 10 “billboards”, each one painted to look like an enlarged baseball card, a two foot by three foot wooden display. They were planted upright in a semi-circle. I wish I had taken a picture, because I can’t find any reference to it on the maps.
Burgess Street continued it’s rolling journey, dead-ending in a little subdivision at the side of a cliff. The subdivision looked like it had been built years ago, with some recent updates. The cliff overlooks the California-Kirkbride neighborhood, with the Ohio River in the distance. And so, I bounced around dead-end streets looking for an outlet back to the Northside Flats. Holyoke, Ridgeway, all looked promising but led to dead-ends. Again, the Strava map insists on a connector street that just isn’t real. Yale Street, at the end of Ridgeway, is a tangled greenway, blocked off at the end by Jersey barriers, not a through street. The houses were a jumble of styles and upkeep, clinging to the steep hillsides.
I finally made my way down to the Mexican War Streets again and found my way back to the Colony Cafe. I got there in time to enjoy coffee and renew acquaintances. Oh yeah, one of the ‘features’ of Colony Cafe is that they have an area in which you can meet and greet homeless cats up for adoption. That area requires a reservation! But I did see a gray cat with white underbelly peering down at us.