MINOT, N.D. — What the heck? Why do such a thing? Then again, why not?
Matthew Geffert of Minot, almost always with his dog “Teller,” a Hungarian vizsla tethered to him, has run every street, avenue, alley and trail in Minot. Really.
Geffert used a download of a city map to make certain he didn’t miss a single street. He carefully planned his route before every run and loaded the information onto his watch.
“I’d follow the navigation that way, just to be sure I didn’t miss anything,” said Geffert. “Every street, start to finish, even some on the outskirts just to be sure. I even ran the old FEMA camp from the flood, on those dirt roads, because there were street signs there.”
The only routes Geffert didn’t run was the highways and bypasses in and around the city.
“That’s where I drew the line for safety reasons,” explained Geffert.
Geffert, who came to Minot Air Force Base last January, is a native of Indiana. He was previously stationed in Utah, so a move to North Dakota meant a change from mountainous terrain to the northern plains, the Minot Daily News reported.
“I kind of wanted to get to know my new home and decided about March, when the weather was getting good, to start running every street,” said Geffert. “That’s kind of when COVID-19 happened and quarantine was going on and kind of the only acceptable thing to do outside. What better time to run every street in your town than in a pandemic?”
Among the many things Geffert discovered while he and his dog were running through the city is that Minot doesn’t quite fit with the image of a flat plain. The city has some challenges for a runner who ventures out of the river valley.
“One of the streets that did stand out is Hiawatha Street,” recalled Geffert. “I ran up it and didn’t expect to run up that steep of a hill in Minot. It was beautiful.”
After getting a runner’s view of the entire city, Geffert said he had discovered some very interesting places and had some interesting moments.
“I got some weird looks from people when running back and forth on dead ends and cul-de-sacs,” laughed Geffert. “I did find a lot of cool lookout points. It was kind of nice to take a break and see some sunsets. There’s a little lookout up by the high school with a bench up there. I thought it was super nice. It overlooks the entire city.”
Geffert said he got into running about 10 years ago, something he calls “life-style change.” He was a member if the Air Force marathon team for nearly three years while stationed in Europe. He has run 8 or 9 marathons but now concentrates on trail running.
“My goal was always to run a sub-three hour marathon. I did that and kind of stopped racing,” said Geffert. “Still though, nothing feels better than a good run. You can’t beat it.”
Among his favorite running places in Minot are city parks like Roosevelt and Oak. However it’s one of the newer and lesser known parks in the city that may be at the top of his list.
“Woodland Park was actually really beautiful with the leaves changing. I love that a lot,” said Geffert. “Also, a cool neighborhood is that one by Roosevelt Park. It’s kind of an island and a historic neighborhood. That was really cool.”
Teller has seen nearly all of the city too, although from a lower vantage point. Geffert says his athletic dog was with him “maybe 90% of the time” while running the city.
“He’d do 10 miles plus sometimes and keep up and never tire out. I’d carry water for him but he’s made for running. He knows the pace,” remarked Geffert.
Like his owner, he now knows the city too.