DES MOINES, Iowa — Through snow, rain or sleet, there has to be coverage on Des Moines streets. “I have traction for when it is icy. I have a light vest, a head lamp and lots of layers of clothes,” said Matt Millard of Altoona. He doesn’t spend his time plowing Des Moines, but as a running enthusiast he cleared plenty of paths through Des Moines streets by running. Actually, he ran all of them. “Once the pandemic hit, I thought I might as well do something bigger,” Millard said.
The ambition to run every Des Moines street began on May 21, 2020. “There’s tons of places you’ve never seen in Des Moines,” said Millard. He tracked his progress on the CityStrides website. Millard said, “There are people all over the world running their cities and it’s really a neat community.”
Millard finished 282 days later on Feb. 27, 2021. “I knew it was going to take a while,” he said. Millard ran through 1,250 streets in Des Moines and through all 53 neighborhoods. Millard said, “There’s all kinds of places around Des Moines that are unique and beautiful houses and beautiful neighborhoods.”
Some were tougher than others. “You don’t think Des Moines is hilly. Des Moines is definitely hilly,” said Millard. One particular area he is happy to have finished. “South of Grand. The hills there are brutal and it was definitely cold. It was below zero when I was running that area,” said Millard.
On his last four miles on Saturday, Millard received fanfare from the Fleet Feet Des Moines running community and the Altoona Iowa Running Club. “I was super happy that we had so many people join us and it was a really good feeling of accomplishment,” Millard said.
Millard says there are 974 miles of center line roads in Des Moines. That’s roughly the same distance from Des Moines to San Antonio, Texas.
It was one large goal, requiring one step at a time. Millard said, “Just getting out the door and being outside, especially in a pandemic, being outside is the best thing you can do. Just for your mental health.”
Millard has previously completed all the streets in Bondurant, Altoona, Runnells, Mitchellville and Pleasant Hill.