Despite threatening weather, the 10th Annual Pat’s Run saw enthusiastic participation at Sun Devil Stadium on April 26. The 4.2 mile run was a fundraiser for Tillman Military Scholars who helped lead the race.
The event included a Kid’s Run and shadow runs at cities across the country. Participants could walk, run, or use a race chair, and had the option of registering individually or in groups.
“We’re running the Pat Tillman Run because we support the military, all the different branches,” said Glendale resident Shannon Jones. “We’re here as a family and a group from Glendale Police Department. Our son, Bradley Jones, was killed in the line of duty two and a half years ago, and we appreciate all of the things that people have done for us, so we’re here to show support for other people.”
Ms. Jones, her husband, Rick, and their other team members also ran to honor Glendale Police Officer Anthony Jon Holly, and Glendale Sergeant Patrick Lee Campbell. All three names and End of Watch dates were listed on the back of the custom shirts worn by the team.
Because 30,000 racers were expected to compete in the event, participants were organized into start line corrals based on expected finish time. Corrals were led to the start line by a Tillman Military Scholar and were released for the run every 30 seconds. Before the first corral got underway, a moment of silence was observed. The national anthem followed, played on trumpet by Jesse McGuire.
Participants maneuvered the race course under cloudy skies and cool temperatures. The race began on the northeast side of Sun Devil Stadium, crossed Tempe Town Lake, wound around to Scottsdale Road and then into the stadium where it ended on the 42 yard line. The rain held off until after most of the participants had finished the race.
“It’s great,” said Shannon Jones about the running conditions. “We couldn’t have asked for better weather.”
Pat Tillman was an ASU star football player and an Academic All-American. After ASU, he played with the Arizona Cardinals but left the team to enlist with the U.S. Army after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. He became an Army Ranger and fought in Afghanistan where he was killed by friendly fire. The Pat Tillman Foundation was established after his death to help military veterans each year achieve their educational goals. According to the foundation website, 60 applicants are chosen each year from the thousands who apply.