The largest Rim Country contingent in the eight-year history of Pat’s Run turned out April 21 near Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe to compete in the 4.2-mile run that honors a man who gave up a million-dollar professional football contract to join the U.S. Army.
Pat Tillman, a former Arizona State and Arizona Cardinals defensive star, was killed April 22, 2004 in a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan.
Since his death, Pat’s Run has been an annual event around the ASU campus, drawing record-sized crowds each passing year.
A field of 22 runners from Payson and Pine competed in Saturday’s event that attracted over 35,000 entrants from around the country and abroad.
Of those from the Rim Country, 50-year-old Todd Poer turned in the fastest time of 31.43.
Janelle Blizzard, 20, finished in 33.02 and Ben D’Addabbo, 29, was timed in 33:10.
With a clocking of 31.43, Robert O’Connor, 53, was 65th in his division that drew 872 finishers.
Henry Lopez, 72, made a case for senior runners by finishing second in the 70-99 age group. He was timed in a very respectable 34.32.
Jenna Songer, 19, finished just steps ahead of Lopez 34.22.
Charlie Hall, 59, a former mountain bike enthusiast whose known more in the Rim Country for his team roping than running, turned in an ET of 37.47.
Also in the run was 2010 Payson High School graduate Lucy Schouten who is a sophomore at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. There, she is majoring in communications with minors in Middle Eastern studies and Arabic.
While at PHS, Schouten was a member of the track and field and cross country teams. She finished Pat’s Run in 32.53.
Gerry Foster, 45, formerly of Payson and Pine was timed at Pat’s Run in 30.58, and his younger brother Ryan, 40, ran 36.38.
Ronnie Buchanan, a cross-country coach at Maricopa High School, was first in 20:47, about 45 seconds ahead of the second place runner.
Several notables also participated in the run including Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, new Arizona State football coach Todd Graham, Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, former Diamondback Eric Byrnes and ex-Suns center Tim Kempton.
Also in attendance at Saturday’s event were 26 Tillman Military Scholars wearing special gold Pat’s Run T-shirts.
All profits from the event benefit the Pat Tillman Foundation, which provides resources and educational scholarship aid to veterans, active service members and their spouses.