My first inspiration for this came from watching “The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young“. The race is a whole topic unto itself, but in the movie, Laz talks about running all the roads in Tennessee. While I think that completing the Barkley Marathon is out of my reach (or desire), the idea of running all the roads here, in Pittsburgh, was planted.
I run with several running groups. They have standard routes which fit the needs of large groups of runners, of varying ability. However, there has always been the great unknowns. Where does THAT street go? What can I see from THAT hill? Sometimes, when I miss group runs, this idea of running all the streets motivates me to explore new routes in the city. Actually getting down to brass tacks and doing it as a project still waxed and waned. There are issues. How should I track it? How many miles will this take? What’s the best way to organize it?
Then, earlier this year, I met an intrepid soul, Laura (aka Mis-Steps) , who is climbing all the steps of Pittsburgh. It’s going to take years, but Laura has a plan and a method. She will finish and in the doing create a persistent legacy of words and images. She encouraged me to go ahead and do it. That rekindled the fire. Then, more recently, at a Christmas party, a friend of mine, Chris, excitedly told me about Ricky Gates running all the streets of San Francisco. That was it! I had to start!
Ricky Gates running all the streets of San Francisco is like binge-watching Game of Thrones. Exciting! Fast! Takes about a month! Me running the streets of Pittsburgh will be more watching Grey’s Anatomy. It’ll be slow, with many twists and turns and unlikely events. I have no idea of how long it will take. I’m going to organize it by neighborhood, so that helps; but there are 90 official neighborhoods in Pittsburgh! There are hundreds of streets, alleyways with street names, there are stairs with street signs. But, like a marathon, of which I’ve run twenty-three, I can’t comprehend the whole journey at once. I’ll just start and go step by step until this is done.