Pat's Run Weekend Days Away

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A core of Rim Country runners, joggers and walkers are gearing up for Pat's Run to be held April 15 on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe.

Those entered could include some locals who participated last spring in the inaugural Pat's Run.

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Pat Tillman will be honored at the second annual Pat's Run April 15 in Tempe.

Among them were Jeff Sokol, Brenda Huff, Miles Huff, Rory Huff, Bill Schwind, Carolyn Fruth, Tim Fruth, Matt Schwind and this scribe.

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

Those who were present a year ago remember the first-ever event as one that allowed the ASU family to put aside the constant rekindling of the tragic shooting death of former Sun Devil football player Brandon Faulker, allegedly by ASU running back Loren Wade.

Instead of focusing on that horrific incident, talk on the ASU campus that day was about Pat's spirit and how he set aside fame, fortune, friends and family to serve his country.

Obvious from the onset of the run was that the field wasn't the usual band of young, hard-core runners with 0 percent body fat, high-tech shoes and state-of-the-art racing garb seen in most long-distance runs.

Instead, it was a diverse field of young and old runners and walkers.

Some pushed baby strollers, some carried backpacks and others ran in combat boots. Some simply strolled the course.

They were the type of people Pat would have loved.

The race began north of Sun Devil Stadium 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 Jumbotron 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 inspiration 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."

Prior to the race, Pat's brother-in-law and executive director of the Pat Tillman Foundation, Alex Garwood, challenged the runners, saying, "Pat made you feel alive and passionate while he was here and it's on us, it's on Arizonans in particular, to make sure we continue that feeling, that passion."

Garwood is expected to make a similar plea Saturday at the onset of the second annual event.

Organizers said they are expecting about 10,000 participants Saturday -- about 4,000 more than entered last year.

The event benefits the Pat Tillman Foundation.

More about the foundation can be learned by logging on to this link: http://www.pattillmanfoundation.org

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