PHOENIX — It’s sure to be a special year for the annual Pat’s Run, as this week marked the 10th anniversary of the death of NFL player turned Army soldier, Pat Tillman.
Roughly 35,000 runners are expected to flock to Tempe on Saturday to participate in the race, which Michelle McCarthy, director of brand and communication for the Pat Tillman Foundation, said is another best for the race.
“It’s looking to be a sellout, actually, this year,” she said. “We’ve had record numbers come out every year since the race was started in April 2005.”
The race is the primary fundraiser for The Pat Tillman Foundation, which provides scholarships to veterans and their families, McCarthy said. Since 2008 there have been 290 Tillman Military Scholars.
“(The foundation) wanted to honor Pat’s commitment to service, learning and action,” said McCarthy. “He was an athlete, but he was also a scholar. He had a 3.8 GPA when he was at Arizona State University.”
The race is 4.2 miles long and ends at the 42-yard line of Sun Devil Stadium, in honor of jersey number Tillman wore while playing football for ASU.
McCarthy said there are still about 1,000 race bibs available for people looking to get involved, and they can go to Sun Devil Stadium Wednesday, Thursday or Friday to sign up. Each bib costs $42.
The foundation and race are in honor of Pat Tillman, who was killed by friendly fire while serving in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004. Tillman’s decision to leave professional football to enlist in the Army following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and his subsequent death in 2004, received much attention across Arizona and the U.S.