At a 37 percent grade, Canton Avenue in Beechview is the steepest street in the U.S.
And on Oct. 15, runners will attempt to climb all 630 feet of it as part of the “Hell on Hills” 5K. Runners will also scale three other Beechview hills. It will set the record as the world’s steepest 5K.
The official course has not been released, but the 3.1-mile race will span the Beechview neighborhood, including its business district on Broadway Avenue. Bousted Street, which is one-quarter of a mile long with a 29 percent grade is another steep hill runners can expect along the course.
Race Director Bethany Ruhe said 5K is designed to test the most experienced runners.
“This one is really about running uphill,” she said. “And as any runner or even walker can tell you, hills are challenging in of in themselves. So, when you’re consistently running up them over the whole course of the 5K, it’s really a great new challenge for yourself.”
For those who don’t want to run, Ruhe said most walkers should be able to finish the course in about an hour.
While this is the first race of its kind for runners, it’s not the first one to feature Beechview’s Canton Avenue. During the annual Dirty Dozen, cyclists cover 13 of the steepest streets in Pittsburgh the day after Thanksgiving.
But Ruhe, who is from Beechview, said this race focuses more on showcasing what’s unique about the community.
“We have a lot of cool features,” she said. “Like, we’re the only Pittsburgh neighborhood that has our light rail system running down our main street.”
The early registration fee is $30, with a discount for Beechview residents.