Discover the Cortez Hill neighborhood loops!

A bunch of stickers were recently applied to sidewalks around the downtown San Diego neighborhood of Cortez Hill. These round purple stickers mark the locations of the Long and Short Loop, where people can walk, jog or ride in wheelchairs, to get some outdoor exercise and fresh air, or perhaps make a short trip to the store.

Today I happened to notice that a sign went up describing the neighborhood’s many Jacaranda trees. The sign provides a good map of the two loops.

I see that the Short Loop is one easy mile. The Long Loop, which passes the place where I live, is a moderate 1.5 miles, including a short but somewhat steep climb to the very top of beautiful Cortez Hill.

If you want a better look at the map, click my photo and the image will enlarge!

Satellite map shows Short and Long Loop in downtown San Diego's Cortez Hill neighborhood.
Satellite map shows the Short and Long Loop in downtown San Diego’s Cortez Hill neighborhood.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Superheroes walk and race for autism!

This morning thousands of generous, compassionate people are walking and running to support local autism programs! The Race For Autism is taking place in Balboa Park as I post this blog!

I wanted to get a taste of the event so I walked up Sixth Avenue from Cortez Hill. I saw so many smiling superheroes I knew at once that those who experience autism are in powerful caring hands.

You can support the National Foundation for Autism Research’s work, particular people, or Race For Autism teams by checking out the donation page here!

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Young champions fight childhood cancer!

A huge crowd of families and young heroes converged on Embarcadero Marina Park North for the 2017 Celebration of Champions!
Families, generous supporters, and many young heroes converged on Embarcadero Marina Park North this morning for the 2017 Celebration of Champions!

During my walk along the Embarcadero this morning, I encountered a legion of amazing young heroes! Courageous children who are fighting cancer–and those who have defeated cancer–were gathering with their families for the 2017 Celebration of Champions!

I learned the emotionally moving event is in its 22nd year.  It features young cancer battlers passing a simulated torch, from one hand to the next, as participants run a very short distance. Money raised supports Rady Children’s Hospital’s social, psychological and emotional support programs.

Parents of brave children who lost their battle with cancer also attend the event, in a tribute to loved ones whose smiles and hopeful hearts were in this world too briefly.

Please visit the Celebration of Champions website to learn more–and perhaps provide helping a hand.

Heading to the annual event, which honors young people who fight and have fought childhood cancer.
Folks head to the annual Celebration of Champions event, which honors young people who are fighting and have fought childhood cancer.
A youthful honor guard arrives before the ceremonies begin.
A youthful honor guard arrives before the ceremonies begin.
Later in the day, many young cancer-fighting champions will carry a simulated torch around the grassy park at the edge of beautiful San Diego Bay.
I learned that later in the day, many young cancer-fighting champions would carry a simulated torch around the grassy park at the edge of beautiful San Diego Bay.
Some very young children were excited to be greeted by princesses!
Some very young children were excited to be greeted by princesses!
Young champions would hand off a torch as they completed running a small length of the park's looping walkway.
Young champions would hand off a simulated torch once they finished running a short length of the park’s looping walkway.
Go Champions!
Go Champions!

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Father Joe’s Villages Thanksgiving Day 5K helps homeless.

Turkey hats on runners preparing for the Father Joe's Villages Thanksgiving Day 5K, an annual event to help San Diego's homeless.
Turkey hats on runners preparing for the Father Joe’s Villages Thanksgiving Day 5K, an annual event to help San Diego’s homeless.

This morning thousands gathered in Balboa Park to participate in the Father Joe’s Villages Thanksgiving Day 5K run and walk. Money raised during the annual event helps Father Joe’s Villages provide food, shelter, medical care, employment training and hope for many of San Diego’s homeless.

If you’d like to donate to Father Joe’s, or learn more about what they do, here’s their website.

Homeless man on Sixth Avenue, across the street from the west edge of Balboa Park.
Homeless man on Sixth Avenue, across the street from Balboa Park.
Thousands gather in Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama before the start of Father Joe's Villages Thanksgiving Day 5K run and walk.
Thousands gather in Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama before the start of Father Joe’s Villages Thanksgiving Day 5K run and walk.
Many Thanksgiving-themed costumes and hats could be spotted among the participants. These dogs are already in the Christmas spirit!
Many Thanksgiving-themed costumes and hats could be spotted among the participants. These dogs are already in the Christmas spirit!
Energy-providing fruit slices are prepared for 5K participants before the beginning of the race.
Energy-providing fruit slices are prepared for the 5K participants before the beginning of the race.
The Knights of Columbus had a pancake breakfast in Balboa Park during the Father Joe's Villages Thanksgiving Day 5K.
The Knights of Columbus had a pancake breakfast in Balboa Park during the Father Joe’s Villages Thanksgiving Day 5K.
Catholic priests perform a religious service in the Plaza de Panama for the faithful before the Thanksgiving race to help the homeless.
Catholic priests perform a religious service in the Plaza de Panama for the faithful before the Thanksgiving race to help the homeless.
Runners and walkers head toward the start line in Balboa Park.
Runners and walkers head toward the start line in Balboa Park. Morning sun shines on the iconic California Tower.
Thousands of participants pass over the Cabrillo Bridge, just prior to beginning the Father Joe's Villages Thanksgiving Day 5K.
Thousands of participants pass over the Cabrillo Bridge, just prior to beginning the Father Joe’s Villages Thanksgiving Day 5K.
This family is dressed like a Pilgrim and a turkey dinner.
This family is dressed like a Pilgrim and a turkey dinner!
People get enthused a few minutes before the fun run begins.
People get enthused a few minutes before the fun run begins.
Homeless person alone on the sunlit grass in the far corner of Balboa Park.
Homeless person alone on the sunlit grass in a corner of Balboa Park.
Getting ready to start a competitive 5K on Thanksgiving morning. Money raised helps provide food and shelter for the homeless in San Diego.
Getting ready to start a competitive 5K run on Thanksgiving morning. Money raised helps provide food and shelter for the homeless in San Diego.

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Faces of victory at Rock ‘n Roll run in San Diego.

Mickey hands greet runners at the 2015 San Diego Rock 'n Roll Marathon.
Mickey hands greet runners at the 2015 San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon.

This morning I headed down through East Village to view the finish of the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon. I was rooting for our local running legend Mebrahtom “Meb” Keflezighi, who many years ago went to San Diego High School about a mile from where I live. At 40 years old he’s one of the greatest long distance runners on planet Earth! He was running the half marathon this time. For 2015, United States Track & Field chose this popular San Diego race to be the home of its Masters Half Marathon National Championships.

As I headed over to Park Boulevard and then wound my way south, I saw that the marathoners were well underway. At about the 4 mile mark, their course curled through downtown before heading back up north. Both the full and half marathons ended near Petco Park, and I eventually planted myself one block short of the finish line, at the corner of 13th and J Street. Would Meb win?

Please enjoy some cool photos!

Marathon participants at the mile 4 marker, racing through downtown San Diego.
Marathon participants at the mile 4 marker, racing through downtown San Diego.
Someone is holding up a big Meb face!
Someone is holding up a big Meb face!
Many flags, signs and costumes were seen all along the race course.
Many flags, signs and costumes were seen all along the race course.
Less than a mile from the finish line, no runners have arrived yet.
Less than a mile from the finish line, no runners have arrived yet.
The runners will be crossing this cool Rock 'n Roll Marathon graphic on 13th Avenue.
The runners will be crossing this cool Rock ‘n Roll Marathon graphic on 13th Avenue.
Some photographers sit idle, waiting for the race to come their way.
Some photographers sit idle, waiting for the race to come their way.
LUCK is created in the mind. A crowd has begun to gather not far from the finish line.
LUCK is created in the mind. A crowd has begun to gather not far from the finish line.
One block from the finish, and the half marathon runners should be here in a couple minutes!
One block from the finish, and the half marathon runners should be here in a couple minutes!
Here come Meb Keflezighi and Jordan Chipangama side-by-side! Who will win.
Here come Meb Keflezighi and Jordan Chipangama side-by-side! Who will win?
The top half marathon runners are now arriving on this cloudy San Diego morning.
The top half marathon runners are now arriving on this cloudy San Diego morning.
Faces contain strain, determination and elation as the finish line nears.
Faces contain strain, determination and elation as the finish line nears.
Meanwhile, flowers are being sold to onlookers beside the race route.
Meanwhile, flowers are being sold to onlookers beside the race route.
Here come more runners. Is it the top women's finisher.
Here come more runners. Is it the top women’s finisher?
It's the women's half marathon winner, Eri Hayakawa!
It’s the women’s half marathon winner, Eri Hayakawa!
Triumphant faces at the 2015 San Diego Rock 'n Roll runs.
Many triumphant faces at the 2015 San Diego Rock ‘n Roll runs!

The winner of the men’s half marathon, with a final burst of speed, was Jordan Chipangama at 01:02:24. Meb Keflezighi came in second at 01:02:26, just two seconds behind!

The women’s half marathon winner was Eri Hayakawa at 01:10:47.

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World-class athlete hero needs a helping hand!

Meb Keflezighi, San Diego hero, is Grand Marshall of 2014 Big Bay Balloon Parade.
Meb Keflezighi, San Diego hero, is Grand Marshall of 2014 Big Bay Balloon Parade.

San Diego sports hero Meb Keflezighi seems superhuman when compared to most of us ordinary mortals. Meb’s long-distance running accomplishments are truly legendary. He has been 3-time national champion in cross country, Olympic silver medalist in the marathon, and winner of both the New York City and Boston Marathons. (What’s more, Meb is a terrific human being, who happened to graduate from San Diego High School, about a mile from where I now sit!) But as thousands of onlookers witnessed, even our biggest world-class heroes sometimes need a helping hand!

Meb was chosen to be Grand Marshall of today’s 2014 Big Bay Balloon Parade, a fun event held on San Diego’s Embarcadero in conjunction with the upcoming Holiday Bowl. (He also presided over a 5K run just beforehand.)  Meb rode on the parade’s leading float to great applause. But his ride turned out to be somewhat unusual. Some leg muscle was required…

Elite long-distance runner Meb Keflezighi speaks to 5K race participants.
Elite long-distance runner Meb Keflezighi speaks to 5K race participants before parade.
Meb watches first wave of Bumble Bee 5K run, a special Holiday Bowl-related event.
Meb watches first wave of Bumble Bee 5K run, a special Holiday Bowl-related event.
These guys might not be Meb, but they are giving the race their best effort!
These guys might not be Meb, but they are giving the race their best effort!
Meb awaits start of Big Bay Balloon Parade on the Forever Young float.
Meb awaits start of Big Bay Balloon Parade on the Forever Young float.
But the float's motor doesn't work! Guys have to push it down the parade route!
But the float’s motor doesn’t work! Guys have to push it down the parade route!

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