TEMPE, Ariz. — It was 10 years ago today that we lost a true American hero in Pat Tillman.
Today, the foundation named in his honor hosts the annual Pat’s Run this weekend in Tempe, Ariz., and over 34 locations nationwide in shadow and troop runs. The 4.2-mile Run/Walk is named for, and held in memory of former Arizona State and Arizona Cardinal football player Pat Tillman.
In its 10th year, the Foundation looks to raise more scholarship funds than ever before for Tillman Military Scholars. The scholars are former military members or spouses that are “The best-poised leaders, who show strength in character, academic excellence and incredible potential,” according to the foundation website.
Amazing stories are abound from all the military scholars from the first class in 2009 to the current class. From the inspiring story of Air Force Captain Ed Woodward’s path through medical school to an American Muslim born to Lebanese immigrants in Army Captain Khalil Tawil studying for his Master’s of Business Administration at Harvard, there is no shortage of courage, honor or hardship among the scholars.
Since the program’s inception, the Foundation has invested $4.6 million in scholarships for students that build on Tillman’s legacy, principles and commitment to service. Tillman earned his B.S. in Marketing, graduating Summa Cum Laude from the W.P. Carey School of Business in just three and a half years.
Tillman was a three-year consecutive selection to the Pac-10 All-Academic Team and also received the NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship for academic and athletic excellence. He was later drafted in the seventh round along with teammate Jake Plummer by the Arizona Cardinals and was considered a long shot to make the roster.
Not only did Tillman make the roster, he was named the starting safety and broke the franchise record for tackles in 2000, all while studying to get his Master’s degree in history from his beloved Arizona State. Much has been said, and unsaid, about the tragic incident wherein Tillman died in Afghanistan, but all that truly matters is that Tillman was due a big payday from the Arizona Cardinals, yet he chose to put his football career and the $3.6 million contract that went with it, on hold while he enlisted in the U.S. Army with his brother, Kevin
The run itself has become one of the more popular runs with over 30,000 participants nationwide, including over 23,000 in the Tempe race alone. The race begins on Packard Drive, just south of Rio Salado Parkway and winds through northern Tempe, crossing the Tempe Town Lake and ends inside Sun Devil Stadium at the 42-yard line, Tillman’s number while at Arizona State.
Online registration is now closed but those looking to run or walk to honor Tillman can still register at the north end of Sun Devil Stadium. The same area will be used for race packet pick-up from from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday.
All participants must pick up their race packet and bib by Friday, no race day registration will be held.
The event begins bright and early at 6 a.m. on Saturday, when the Finish Line Expo opens with entertainment, refreshments, an interactive Kids’ Corner with several vendor booths.
The Race Chair Start is at 7 a.m. and the 4.2 mile run begins at 7:05 a.m. The Kid’s Run is .42 miles long and starts at 9:45 a.m.
All registered participants will receive a Dri-fit race shirt, a race number and timing tag, along with a virtual goodie bag. New this year, participants can upgrade their experience to receive an additional 10-year anniversary t-shirt, decal, performance socks and visor.
For those that want to honor Tillman and cannot make it to Tempe for the race, the race shirt, 10th anniversary shirt along with other merchandise can be purchased online here. Shadow runs span the country from Seattle to Atlanta and San Diego to New York City, for a list of shadow runs sponsored by Arizona State Alumni chapters, visit the website here.