Pat's Run Leaves Deep Impression on Participants

The inaugural Pat's Run event, benefiting the Pat Tillman Foundation, took place in Tempe on Saturday morning. Over 5,200 people from over 30 states ran or walked the 4.2 mile course in the heart of Sun Devil country. Devils Digest talked to some of the individuals who participated in the race to get their accounts of this event.

"It was probably one of the more organized runs that I have been in a long time," said Eric K. from Scottsdale who participated in numerous similar events in the Phoenix area. "It was a nice course and you could tell they had a lot of support from the City of Tempe. It was a good event and it had a lot of people."

Eric was fortunate to know Tillman while he was in school, as they both were interns at the same law firm. "He was a hard worker and a good man," he recalled. "Anytime you'd ask him to do something he was always there. That's the way he lived his life – never complained, and always there if you needed him. That's the impression I got from him."

"When I think of Pat Tillman, he makes me proud to be a Sun Devil and an American," Eric continued. "I always think of him as a Sun Devil and not as a Cardinal like most people do (smile). There were a lot of people wearing the number 42 jerseys. It was nice to see Dirk Koetter run the race and have his football players out there greeting runners at the finish line."

Dave N. from Tempe, much like the serious runners in Saturday's event, has been preparing for weeks for this race. "I started training about a month ago with some family and friends, and we all had personal bests out there today," he said. "I started running five miles 2-3 times a week for a month. I knew that if I could run five miles, I definitely could do 4.2 (smile)."

Dave loved the environment surrounding the race. "Being with all those people was awesome, and it was great to be part of this inaugural event," he said. "Bruce Snyder was out there starting the race (on the loud speaker). People were out there having fun, and we had an absolute blast."

Tillman is probably a role model to most in a patriotic way, but for Dave there's also a different aspect of the late Tillman that he respects. "Pat Tillman is the type of guy that a lot of us would like to be themselves," he stated. "Everything he has done in his life was never for publicity or money. He did it because it was the right thing to do."

"I'm an active person, and he ran a triathlon, so I look up to him in that sense too. I'm now thinking about doing a triathlon and a half marathon, and if it weren't for Pat's Run, I'd probably not even think of doing all these events."

Among the 5,200 or so people attending the event, suffice to say that Eric C. from Tempe was one of the more notable individuals that attended the race. He and his two friends has the letters P A T painted on their bodies "I was the 'P', and our friend who was the 'A' ended up falling way behind us," he said. "We had to drag him up with us. When we finally got to the stadium, the announcer goes ‘here's the P and the T with no A!' We had lots of fun and I hope that those who saw us would want to do this event next year." Eric added that he was impressed with the military guys who he saw running in their full gear including weapons and helmets.

Gabe G. from Mesa loved the great weather the race had, and he anticipates that this event will only grow stronger in the future. "They were a lot of people today, and I saw a lot of ex-Sun Devils like Vince Amey, Keith Poole, and Jeremy Statt, and some Cardinals players too."

Gabe was also one of the fortunate individuals who did meet Tillman at one time, and his experience validates the type of person this American hero was. "He was just a nice and gregarious guy. He didn't have the self-righteousness that other athletes have. He's just down to earth and stand-up guy. He's definitely someone I admire."

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