Local men running 90 miles to raise awareness for Black Lives Matter, suicide prevention

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AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — They say actions speak louder than words, that’s why two University of Akron Alums are getting ready to pound the pavement this weekend in an effort to bring about change and awareness across the country.

22-year-old Nick Stricklen and 23-year-old Jeremiah Fitzgerald are lacing up their running shoes for what will be the most challenging run they have ever faced.

“The starting point is in Zoarville,” said Stricklen.

The duo will start at 5:15 Sunday morning near New Philadelphia and their finish line will be in downtown Cleveland.

“Total running time should be about 13 hours,” Stricklen said.

These two are no strangers to running, they are recent graduates of the University of Akron where they ran cross-country and track, but neither has run more than 21 miles at any given time.

“My training probably is not where it should be, but it’s good enough,” said Stricklen.

Nick and Jeremiah are running 90 miles but this is not about the journey, this is about bringing awareness to two key issues that face our country today.

“The 88 miles we are going to run is to represent the 88 Black-Americans that have been shot and killed by Police so far in 2020 and that 88 miles will end at the Jesse Owens statue in Cleveland,” said Fitzgerald. “Then we are finishing at 90 miles at the National Alliance of Mental Illness Building in Cleveland to represent the 90 percent of suicide victims that show mental health illnesses before hand.”

Their 90 mile run was inspired by Paul Bete’s an Ohio State runner who logged 56.3 miles for the NAACP Legal-Defense Fund.

“We both feel strongly towards the suicide prevention and Black Lives Matter and so we both want to run the whole thing together to show our support for both causes,” Fitzgerald said.

Change happens one step at a time, but these men are making sure that change goes the distance. 

This journey hits home for Nick and Jeremiah who are dedicating their run to their close friend’s brother who recently passed away because of suicide.

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