Weekend Warriors Set For Annual Pat’S Run

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The Rim Country has traditionally been well represented at Pat’s Run, with many local joggers, runners and ground pounders traveling to Tempe for the annual event.

Among Rim residents who have competed and done well in past runs are Ashton Wolf, Rory Huff, Jeff Sokol, Miles Huff, Carolyn Fruth, Shannon Bilke, Tim Fruth and law enforcement officers Henry Thomason, Vern Havens and Steve Montgomery.

Wolf, as a 13-year-old in 2006, blazed her way to a second-place age-group finish. Fruth has several age-group top finishes to her credit, including a fourth in the 40- to 42-year-old female division.

In 2007, Kay Foster, a grandmother of eight, was 16th among the 60-years-plus female runners.

The run is unique in that it focuses on Pat Tillman’s spirit and how he set aside fame, fortune, friends and family to serve his country in the military.

Obvious from the onset of every run is that the field isn’t the usual band of young, hard-core runners with zero percent body fat, high-tech shoes and state-of-the-art racing garb seen in most long-distance events. It has attracted more of that serious set as it has grown, but it continues to draw those who simply want to honor Tillman and other military men and women.

There are those who push baby strollers, some carry backpacks and others run in combat boots. Some simply stroll the course competing in the “walk” division.

From what we know of Pat Tillman, a former pro football star who gave up a lucrative million dollar professional contract to join the Army Rangers, they are the type of people he would have loved.

Tillman was killed April 22, 2004 in action in Afghanistan.

The 4.2-mile Pat’s Run begins north of Sun Devil Stadium and ends on the 42-yard line of Frank Kush field.

The run distance and finish line were chosen because Tillman’s uniform number was No. 42 when he starred for the ASU Sun Devils.

As the exhausted, sweaty runners enter the stadium and approach the finish among the first things they see is their images projected on the Jumbotron screen at the opposite end of the stadium. That’s a thrill for many who are accustomed to seeing only collegiate and professional football stars on the screen.

ASU football players are always on hand as runners enter the stadium to greet and cheer the entrants.

Run is tomorrow

The next Pat’s Run will be held tomorrow, April 17, near the campus of Arizona State University.

The race starts at 7 a.m. and registration opens at 5 a.m. A 0.42-mile Pat’s Kids Run begins at 9:15 a.m.

The registration fee is $40 for those who sign up tomorrow, prior to the race.

For more information, go to: www.pattillmanfoundation.org/pats-run.aspx.

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