Pat’s Run celebrated its thirteenth annual run on April 22, 2017 in Tempe, Arizona with an incredible 28,000 participating athletes and thousands more volunteers and supporters, selling out the event for the second time in its tenure. Athlinks was there to capture some of the sights and sounds and give you a taste of the event experience.
The 4.2 mile run celebrates the life of former Arizona Cardinal Linebacker and Army Corporal, Patrick Tillman who died from friendly-fire in 2002. Tillman joined the Army in the wake of September 11, stepping away from playing for the Cardinals. Why 4.2 miles? Tillman’s jersey number was 42. Also in a unique tribute to Tillman, runners get the special treat of crossing the finish line on the 42-yard of Arizona State’s Sun Devil Stadium.
In 2004, many of Tillman’s friends and family organized the first Pat’s Run, drawing in 5,500 people, having since grown to almost 30,000 participants
Perry Edinger, Pat Tillman’s athletic trainer at Arizona State University, where Tillman played college football, and one of the founding members of the Pat Tillman Foundation said in an interview with 3TV, “You know, the first year, I said there would be 5,000. All the race experts said we’d have 800. I said, ‘No way, we’ll have 5000,’ we had 5,500. A friend of mine came up a couple years later and said, ‘You’re going to end up with 28,000.’ I said, ‘Dude, you’re crazy, but I’d love for that to happen,’ and here we are.”
Founded in 2008, Pat’s Run has supported scholarships for active service members, veterans, and their spouses to attend university all over the country. Since 2008, the scholarship has raised over $14.6 million, allowing over 460 Tillman Scholars to attend more than 100 institutions of higher learning. Furthermore, many of these Scholars are first generation college students and have a graduation rate of near 100%.
Alex Gardwood, founder of the Pat Tillman Foundation and Tillman’s brother-in-law said, “If you have a chance to engage with a Tillman Scholar, they are men and women who, when you’re standing there, on the plus side, they’re so motivated, they’re so incredible… It’s a great reminder of Pat.”
Due to their immense popularity and their great support of service members, both active and veteran, Pat’s Run has grown beyond Tempe with the help of the Arizona State Alumni Association. These Alumni Associations have coordinated Tillman Honor Runs in dozens of cities all over the United States, creating national awareness and support for the Pat Tillman Foundation.
Pat’s Run is a great opportunity to try out the Athlinks Race Day App as well. The app allows users to download custom details about Pat’s Run and other Athlinks events, find and claim their results, and engage with several great tools to enhance their race experience such as:
- Course maps, schedules, and other helpful info
- Live GPS tracking for athletes and spectators
- Race results and photos
- Event news and announcements
Download it here:
For more information on Pat’s Run and how to contribute to the Pat Tillman Foundation, be sure to visit their website: http://pattillmanfoundation.org/