PAINESVILLE, OHIO – The distance between Cincinnati and Cleveland is about 260 miles. It’s a four-hour trip by car. So, why would anyone want to make that trek on foot, let alone run it? For twins Rachel and Sandi Nypaver, it’s for both the physical challenge and the opportunity to help a worthy cause.
“We are combining our two passions,” Rachel said. “We can really test ourselves through endurance sports and at the same time bring awareness to some of the issues our society is facing.”
The Lake Erie College juniors from Parma, Ohio will run from Cincinnati to Cleveland in an effort to raise awareness and money for the United Way of Lake County. Their “I Believe” run will start along the Ohio River Dec. 17 and plan to finish in front- and in some cases, alongside- of family and friends at Lake Erie three days later on the 20th.
For the Nypavers, the timing couldn’t be better- despite the colder temperatures. They feel their message of “believing” is perfect during the holiday season, and perfect for their charity of choice.
“Our main interests lie in the areas of children and poverty, two areas the United Way is primarily concerned with,” said Rachel. “There are a lot of people who may be having a rough go of it, or have a lot of negative thinking, and we want to try to inspire those people to start believing in themselves and others. “
“Giving those who are having a difficult time something to believe in is a powerful tool,” added Sandi.
The sisters have always taken an interest in causes and world issues, which was the reason they started the on-campus group “Students Making a Difference” (S.M.A.D.) during their sophomore year. The group not only works to raise money for the United Way, but also volunteers time to causes like the Lake County Humane Society, Harbor Light Hospice, New Avenues to Independence and Clothe a Child community projects.
“There are so many things going on in the world that can be bettered or changed with positive attitudes and people working towards the common good,” said Sandi. “If everyone does a little bit, it can make a huge difference.”
The run from Cincinnati to Cleveland will be their biggest undertaking to date.
“We’ve always run for training, whether it was for basketball or other sports,” Rachel said. “Whatever we set our minds to, we can do. There will be points where we’ll both want to stop and cry, but knowing there are so many people backing us up, that motivation will keep us going we’ll be able to go on.”
They’ve been training for this run for months, though in different ways. Rachel spent the fall semester running on the Lake Erie cross country team, competing in meets across the region.
Sandi, meanwhile, was part of a 10-day hiking and running expedition in Canada’s Akshayuk Pass and Baffin Islands near the Arctic as part of a non-profit group, Impossible2Possible. Upon her return she ran with her sister and the Storm cross country team in open meets.
“The expedition was a great way to really push myself and see what I could do physically,” she said. “That experience gave me the idea to do this.”
Now that idea is coming close to being executed, as the sisters have about a week before their journey begins.
“There’s an excitement and a nervousness, I think, for both of us,” Sandi said.
“We want to raise as much money as we can, but we also want to spread inspiration and get people to think about things positively,” added Rachel. “This is about challenging ourselves, but it is also about challenging others to make a positive difference in the world.”
To donate to the Nypavers’ “I Believe Run” in support of the United Way, visit their website at http://4smiles.webs.com/ibelieverunohio09.htm or the United Way site at http://www.uwlc.org/give.html and select “I Believe.”