Bismarck woman runs the town

Published: May. 18, 2020 at 3:28 PM CDT
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A Bismarck woman is running her way to a healthier life. Jess Paulsen has a goal to run every street in town. She’s doing it for her health.

“I am not a great runner,” laughs Jess Paulsen. “I don't claim to be fast.”

But four or five times a week, you’ll find Paulsen pounding the pavement.

“I don't have a lot of stamina but when I set a goal I feel like I can get there in small steps,” she says.

Those small steps will add up to nearly 350 miles. These are streets she knows well.

“I grew up in Bismarck. I love Bismarck,” says Paulsen.

Last year, she raced down every street within the city limits.

“I was training for the Bismarck half marathon," she says.

Checking the streets off, one by one. She ran some and walked others. This year her goal is to run every street on the map. Her favorites are the city’s oldest streets.

“I love running through the middle of Bismarck,” says Paulsen. “You still see copper plates in sidewalks, people who wrote their initials in the sidewalk and in their retaining walls in the 40s.”

Paulsen says this is a time commitment for her health.

“When you're as slow as I am, it's a long time away. I have heart disease in my family. I have three kids I need to take care of myself," she says.

For Paulsen, that means lacing up her running shoes and taking it one step – and one street – at a time.

Last year, it took Paulsen from April 1 until November 1 to run every street in town, and there were still two streets she wasn't able to run; the streets at Fraine Barracks were off limits.

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