So, you want a hill to run?
RATS #00220

In local online running communities, I sometimes hear that people get bored on “hill” day, because they are tired of running the same hill week in and week out. Maybe they’ve chosen a specific hill in North Park or Schenley Park, or somewhere in their neighborhood and keep at it. Let me tell you, Pittsburgh has no lack of hills and there’s no need to run the same one all the time.

Take this run, for example. Beechview is about five minutes out of downtown, either through the Liberty Tubes to West Liberty Avenue or using the Fort Pitt Tunnels to Banksville Road. Park along on one of the broad residential streets, say Fallowfield Avenue. Within a mile, you’re likely to get a 100′ change of elevation. Do that a few times, and I think you’ll be set.

Of course, if that doesn’t get your heart rate going, try a few staircases. There are plenty of them around here, too. Just don’t try the ones coming down to Goldstrom Avenue, unless you bring a rope. If the Rutherford steps or Belasco steps don’t tickle your fancy, cross West Liberty Avenue and go up Stetson Avenue or Ray Avenue.

That’s about it. I’ve become fond of Beechview in spite of its ridiculous hills. Whittling down the streets, I only have about a dozen left there, maybe two or three miles and perhaps a half-dozen sets of stairs.

Hightide in Beechview

RATS #00216 – Beechview

Happy Easter! Normally, I would be finishing up a brunch with family and friends this morning. However, in the current state of things, I figured I’d blog a little and later try to find a chocolate egg around the house. Happy to have all the good in my life as it is.

So, I ran this route last week on a brilliant evening in Beechview. If you’ve followed my blog for anytime, you’ll know that Beechview is a friendly neighborhood with broad streets and booming hills. What you may not have known, is that in the last ice-age, Beechview was actually beachfront property. (How do you think they got the name?) In those days, everyone got around by boat, paddling from hilltop to hilltop. I came across a relic of the old days here, not far from a spanking new gas grill.

Continuing the fiction, it then happened that the seas began to recede. In those days, it wasn’t too convenient to lug your boat up to the house, so everyone made steps to get down to the water. You can see these steps all over.

Security was a concern, so residents bred vicious animals which required pets before passing. Most of them are pretty quick and shy these days, but every now and then an alpha guardian still stands his ground.

Beechview Guardian

But the seas indeed, have receded, leaving Beechview high and dry. The only waves you see are the undulating hills frothed with houses.

Not sure, might be a dead-end

No Outlet No Kidding
No Outlet No Kidding

This late morning run is brought to you by hills and hills and hills. Yes, this is Beechview, for all you arm-chair runners. I had previously called Greenfield the “Land of Hills”. This must be the “Motherland of Hills”. Beechview is a little bit out of my way, though I have actually run here before, doing the Hell on Hills 5K a few years ago. Check out the race! It was fun, though grueling.

I started on Westfield St, right above a cute little playground and ball field. Looking out over the fences I could see the top of the UPMC Building, in downtown Pittsburgh several miles away.

UPMC Tower from Playground Hill
UPMC Tower from Playground Hill

I ran down Westfield, which goes all the way to a T-stop, then wound my way up and down hilly dead-ends. Princess, Brookside, Platt, Traymore were all lined with neat houses clinging to the steep streets. There were many “No Outlet” signs warning of dead-ends. Mostly they were accurate. Eventually I came to the eastern terminus of Hampshire Ave.

Hampshire runs roughshod over the massive hills in this area, taking no contours and no easy ways. Of course, it, too, ends in a dead-end. Actually three, count ’em, three “No Outlet” signs graced the corner of Hampshire and Napoleon! This is just before Hampshire ends at Canton Ave (“steepest street in America“). Now, I had hopes of getting down to Banksville Road and running UP Canton, so I was delighted to see a public stair off to the right as I ran past the “No Outlet” signs. The stairs looked promising, but, alas, just became more and more overgrown.

Sometimes, that’s what happens when you ignore signs. You get stuck at the bottom of a dead-end, with no where to go but to retrace your steps and get out of there. Continuing on, I made it down to Banksville Road via Canton and Coast. I took a break and got my bearings again. There were so many hot, hilly streets to run on! However, I was beat and just followed Fallowfield, to Sebring Ave, then to Westfield, where I had parked my car. It was a good start, though, in this neighborhood of crazy steep streets called Beechview.

PS Fallowfield was no walk on the beach either.

Fallowfield St in Beechview
Fallowfield St in Beechview

Whoops! Forgot to post the Strava map! Here it is:

Strava map of route for Run All The Streets run number 55
Strava map of route for Run All The Streets run number 55