Eighth annual Pat's Run comes to Tempe April 21
Runners around the Valley are gearing up for the eighth annual Pat’s Run event, to honor Arizona State University alumnus and veteran Pat Tillman, who lost his life while serving as a U.S. Army ranger in Afghanistan.
This year’s race on April 21 will feature a 4.2-mile course through the streets of Tempe for adults and a .42-mile children’s run, in recognition of Tillman who famously wore the number 42-football jersey. In addition, the race features a Finish Line Expo free for all participants, volunteers and spectators. Those in attendance may enjoy music, an interactive Kids’ Corner and more than 40 vendors.
Now a staple in the hearts of many, the Pat Tillman Foundation created Pat’s Run in 2008 as a dedication to the legendary hero. Proceeds from the race fund scholarships for the foundation’s Military Scholars program, dedicated to supporting educational opportunities for service members and their families by filling the financial gaps in the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.
Over the past three years, the Pat Tillman Foundation has awarded more than $2.2 million in scholarship funds to 171 Tillman Military Scholars pursuing education at every level from freshmen undergraduates to doctoral candidates.
Last year, more than 20,000 people from around the Valley participated in the run. One of those runners in particular was Lisa House from North Carolina. As a long-time football fan, House was familiar with Tillman and his decision to leave the NFL to serve in the military. It wasn’t until 2010, however, that she learned about the yearly run in Tempe and the benefit it has on Tillman military scholars.
“My dad was in the military and when he got out, the transition was really difficult because we didn’t receive a lot of help. I really like the Tillman Foundation’s mission of assisting military families and their goals supporting education,” House said. “Pat’s Run seemed like such a cool event that celebrated Pat’s individuality, while also benefiting the military scholars.”
Inspired by what she read, House began training for 2011 race even though she was never an avid runner. In doing so, she says that she started building her confidence and “believing in myself again.” And her hard work paid off – not only did House complete the run, but she ended up raising the most funds out of any other participant.
“I was overwhelmed when I heard the news. I tried very hard and my supporters are always so generous with Pat’s Run,” said House. “With this race you see where your money is going and meet the people who are actually getting the scholarships.”