Payson Mom Runs To Tillman Bronze

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Mother of two and former Payson High School student-athlete Carolyn Fruth ran to a third-place finish in the 40-42 years age division at the inaugural Pat's Run April 16 in Tempe.

Fruth covered the 4.2 mile course in 31:11 and received for her efforts a bronze sculpture of "A Mountain," which is located near the campus of Arizona State University. The sculpture was inscribed with the No. 42.

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Carolyn Fruth, shown outside Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, proudly holds the trophy she was awarded for her third-place age division finish at the inaugural Pat's Run.

The run was held in honor of former Arizona Cardinals and ASU football player Pat Tillman, who wore No. 42 while playing for ASU. Tillman was killed April 22, 2004 while serving in the Army in Afghanistan.

His death prompted race director Terry Eddinger, who helped train Tillman for a marathon, to found Pat's Run.

More than 5,200 runners and walkers participated in the race that began at north of Sun Devil Stadium on the ASU campus and ended on the 42-yard line of Frank Kush field. As the exhausted, sweaty runners entered the stadium they could see their images projected on the Jumbo Tron screen at the opposite end of the stadium. ASU football players were also on hand to greet the participants as they crossed the finish line.

Along the course, well-wishers held poster-size pictures of Tillman that most runners agreed served as inspirations to put in the type of effort Tillman did as a football player and soldier.

Three men, dressed in army fatigues ran with boots, 40-pound military packs and 10-pound mock M-16 rifles. All three said their participation was a way to show support for Tillman and other American soldiers.

A trio of ASU students turned out with their bodies painted in ASU's maroon and gold colors. One student had a "P" painted on his chest, another an "A" and the third a "T."

In the event field along with Fruth were several other Rim country residents including Jeff Sokol, Brenda Huff, Miles Huff, Rory Huff, Bill Schwind, Tim Fruth and Matt Schwind.

Former Rim Country Middle School football coach and ex-ASU tight end Scott Veach was there to cheer on the runners.

At the conclusion of the 4.2-mile event, a .42-mile kids' run was held. The events raised more than $125,000 for the Pat Tillman Foundation.

A silent auction earned an additional $25,000 for the fund.

According to Tillman's widow, Marie, the foundation was created "to honor Pat's memory and carry forward his legacy.

"Our goal is to inspire and support others that live their lives with a similar spirit and strive for positive change. Like Pat, the foundation bearing his name is deliberate in developing planned courses of action and will focus its initial efforts on educating America's next generation of leaders with the ethical foundation and critical-thinking skills they need to drive positive change in themselves and their communities."

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