'Main street runner' dashes through the region's small towns, aiming for 500 stops this year

Ralph Fiskness, 72, has a goal this year to run down the main streets of at least 500 towns in North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota, and he’s drawing close to that mark.

On Oct. 6, Fiskness ran a 3K through Fort Ransom, North Dakota, just south of Fort Ransom State Park and along the rolling, tree-lined hills of the Sheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway.

It was stop number 453 for him.

“Some say I’ve lost my mind, including my spouse,” he said with a laugh.

Fiskness and his wife, Jewell, have been to Fort Ransom many times over the years to sell their carved wood signs at a popular craft show, but he’d never run through town.

Two school principals who were big influences during his early years of teaching are from Fort Ransom, which gave him another reason to visit and take a run.

“Maybe it’s a tribute to them,” he said.

The downtown running project, started in January, has given Fiskness a valuable way to spend his idle time during retirement.

He almost always wears a Fargo Marathon shirt, counting director Mark Knutson as one of his

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