Jesse McGuire’s moving trumpet rendition of the national anthem at the onset of Pat’s Run had the crowd of 30,000-plus hootin’ and hollerin’ at decibel levels that haven’t been heard in Arizona since Luis Gonzalez’s game 7 walk off bases loaded bloop single earned the Arizona Diamondbacks the 2001 World Championship.
When normalcy finally returned moments after 7 a.m. on Saturday on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe, the runners broke from the starting line for the 4.2-mile run that ended on the 42-yard-line on Frank Kush Field in Sun Devil Stadium.
Organizers picked the course length for the jersey number of Pat Tillman, who played for the Sun Devils for four years.
In the crowd of runners, most everyone knew Tillman’s stirring story — an Arizona Cardinals football player who quit a promising professional career and enlisted in the United States Army in June 2002 in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. He died in a friendly fire incident a decade ago and the annual race honors his memory and raises money for Tillman’s Military Scholars.
Since the inception of the race, Rim Country runners have participated in an event that started with 2,000 runners in 2004 and is now capped at 30,000.
Some 29 runners from Payson participated, about the same as last year.
The enthusiastic local group included Carolyn Fruth, who clocked a personal best time of 29.51.
Her husband, Tim, a former town vice mayor and Payson High School administrator nearly caught her — finishing in 31:15.
“It was my best time ever by far, about 3 minutes better,” he said.
The Fruths’ daughter, Jordyn, an Arizona State University student finished in 34.08.
The Rim Country delegation also included Trevor Flores finishing in 38:15 and Kian Heron, 12, turning in a 47:21 clocking.
Other male Payson runners were:
Dusty Zabala (40:36), Kevin Morris (37:59), Todd Poer (1:38:32), Anthony Cleary (46:08), Garry Kort (1:10:23), Greg Samp (51:27), John Figueroa (34:09), Luke Descheemaker (34:09), David Millien (50:29), Robert O’Connor (37:30), Christopher Cordell (39:22) and David Frohme (34:43.
Other female runners were:
Cindy Boyes (41:36), Adrienne Hall (38:40), Adriana Barnes (36:05), Janell Blizzard (35:46), Debbie Kort (1:10:20), Jessica Vickers (41:23), Kimberly Poer (35:52), Lisa Moffett (59:36), Shalice Zabala (36:43), Ann Leonard (44:32), Linda Morris (1:14:54) and Rebecca O’Conner (40:57).