For my April race, I participated in Pat’s Run. Pat’s Run is a race near and dear to my heart and is one of my favorite events of the year. Pat’s Run raises money for scholarship funds for military veterans and their families through the Pat Tillman Foundation. The distance of the race is 4.2 miles with the finish line at the 42-yard line inside Sun Devil Stadium. This year was its 10th anniversary. For those who may not be aware, Pat Tillman was a former ASU and Cardinals football player who declined his NFL contract to join the Army after 9/11 and was killed by friendly fire in 2004. The run in his honor draws over 30,000 people in Tempe and who participate in one of the several shadow runs across the country. There are people running the entire course carrying the American flag, in wheelchairs and a man with an artificial heart even crossed the finish line. The passion of Pat’s Run and for Pat Tillman and the Pat Tillman Foundation is unmatched.
Onto the race details. This is the race I have ran the most and was the first timed run I had done since high school track. I believe this was my seventh year participating in Pat’s Run. As I mentioned before, the course is a 4.2 mile loop that begins outside of Sun Devil Stadium and ends at its 42 yard line. You cross over Tempe Town Lake twice and get a nice view of the East Valley midway through. At the finish line, Arizona State football players are there to give you high fives and cheer you on as you cross. Even for someone who worked in athletics for a number of years, it still feels really awesome to finish inside Sun Devil Stadium and definitely gives an extra adrenaline rush. It is a fun course and the passion for the cause is inspiring. Everyone is there to support our military and honor an American hero. Some of my favorite shirts were the U of A ones that said “Cat for Pat,” because it shows that what Pat Tillman stands for is bigger than the Territorial Cup rivalry. There is also a kid’s run which is .42 miles and many of the children who participate were not alive yet when Pat was killed.
As far as the packet and expo go, Pat’s Run is famous for having awesome shirts. They started doing tech shirts before it truly became popular, and the shirts I have from past years remain some of my favorites to work out in. Tim wears his all the time too, for working out and as a normal shirt. The vendors and sponsors at the expo are pretty awesome. This year they even had Chick-fil-A handing out iced coffee! Other vendors with samples included McDonald’s, Clif Bars, Sports Chalet, Sport Clips and many others. We definitely loaded up on goodies post race!
If I had one complaint about Pat’s Run, it’s that many participants do not understand the corral system. I was in a runner’s corral and there were so many people at the start who were walking in front of me. With 28,000 people running, the walkers need to be in the back with their estimated time so that those who are running are not ducking and dodging as they past people. I think my time may have been a bit faster had I been in a faster corral and I plan on doing that next year.
For me, I ran pretty strong. I finished in 36:33, an average of 8:43 minute miles. It was my Pat’s Run PR by over four minutes, so I was pretty pleased with myself. The majority of our tailgating group also participated and we went to Four Peaks for brunch and beers post game.
There are few things more inspiring than running alongside 28,000 other people to support military families and honor Pat Tillman. I highly recommend coming to Tempe to Run Walk Honor or to find a shadow run near you. Never stop.