March 2020 Catch-Up

March 2020 will go down in history as the month in which the coronavirus exploded in the United States. According to World Meter’s Coronavirus stats, on March 1st, there were 75 cases of Covid19 in the U.S. By April 1st, there were over 200,000 cases. In this, the first week of April, we’re at over 336,000 cases and over 9,000 deaths. This has had a huge impact on everyone, locally, regionally and globally. Professional sports has been shut down. Restaurants, and non-essential businesses are shut down. Everyone is being told to stay home, except for grocery shopping and exercise.

Against this backdrop, my project to run all the streets of Pittsburgh seems pretty petty, but I’m lucky I can still do it. Also since all group running, even in two’s, is verboten, I’ve had the unencumbered opportunity to run solo and cover many new streets this month. Twenty runs covered new streets. My running mileage was 161 miles with more elevation than ever. I’m over 35% complete with the streets of Pittsburgh, according to CityStrides. I’ve covered dozens of staircases. Here are a few of the runs I didn’t get a chance to blog about during March.

RATS #00193
RATS #00193

A dark run in Lawrenceville. Probably late for a PBR run, come to think of it.

RATS #00196
RATS #00196

This was a late Thursday evening run in Lawrenceville. This was a little somber because I went to a viewing before running. A co-worker’s Dad had passed away from a long illness. So, no pics.

RATS #00205
RATS #00205, lower Oakland with a bit of Greenfield

This was an interesting run in the early evening. Mainly, it was in Four Mile Run, a little hollow of houses wedged between Greenfield Avenue and the Parkway East.

But first, lets get the steps out of the way. I’m not sure whether the steps from Greenfield Avenue up to the defunct Greenfield Elementary School are “official”, but they are in good shape and lead to a ball field. The steep steps from Sylvan Street to Waldeck Street offer a quick, though heart-pounding route into the heart of Greenfield. On the bottom, the steps from Greenfield Avenue to Alexis Street lead into the Four Mile Run hamlet. On the other hand, the Anthony Street Stairs, next to an impressive Byzantine Catholic Church, essentially go nowhere.

Four Mile Run is dominated by highway overpasses. It is surprisingly large, with several miles of roads winding under the bridges.

But, as anywhere, people make the most of their surroundings and decorate for upcoming holidays.

Easter Decorations

RATS #00207
RATS #00207

This run was to catch a few streets off of Hazelwood Avenue, including the Hilltop Street Stairs. From Winterburn Avenue, it was easy to see Hilltop steps.

Hilltop Street at Winterburn

However, off of Parnell, they were better hidden.

“Go halfway down the street, look for a yellow bush on the right.” I was a bit dubious, but these were, actually, the correct directions.

The yellow bush marks the spot! Following the dirt path, you get to the next section of steps.

The next few streets are remarkably flat and deserted. Perfect for the kid zooming past me on a four-wheeler. I trotted back to Hazelwood Avenue and jogged back up the hill.

RATS #00209
RATS #00209

This was a big loop in the West End, Elliott and Sheraden. With no phone, I didn’t catch any pictures. It was a shame because Glen Mawr Street, from West Carson Street up into Sheraden is quite the trip. Sidewalk steps, a twelve-foot high viaduct under an active railroad track all made for an exciting run. I also managed to get from the West End to Sheraden on small residential roads. It was a beautiful day and a nice run.

RATS #00211
RATS #00211

An evening run through Bloomfield on a wet Spring evening. Passed a WWI Memorial which I had never payed attention to before. the police tape of the playground is to enforce social distancing. While there are many businesses in this area, there are still single family houses and, of course, new condos.

And that’s all for March. It’s a topsy-turvy world out there and I hope everyone stays healthy.

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