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.
Last Saturday I decided to take a shot at the 50k “Take the Stairs Fatass” route. The weather was pretty good, but I got a late start (it was close to noon) by the time I got out. Now, treating this more seriously than I did the 25k route, I suited up like I was doing Hyner. I dug into my ultra gear box where I found treasures such as TP and hand wipes.
Much of the route I’ve documented already, but I did hit a number of new streets and stairs. I also had the good fortune to meet up with Sherpes Hasher, who was doing the route in the opposite direction. There were a couple of snafus – Vista Street steps are under construction, which I had forgotten. Early on, I added in the steps from Howard St to Compromise Street, an effort which likely contributed to an overall DNF. But, I’m not too sad about this DNF, I covered seventeen miles with over 3,500 feet of elevation and traversed at least 37 sets of city stairs before calling it a day on Wyoming Ave.
Here are the pics. Take Dramamine now if you have vertigo…