Brandon: In his own words 'Why I Run' for Pat Tillman Foundation

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(3TV/CBS 5) -

I lived in NYC during 9-11. I lived in lower Manhattan. I lived in the financial district. I was on my way to work that morning on September 11, 2001.

I remember NYPD officers storming our subway train. They told us, "You have to get off this train immediately! Everybody off!"

We got off and we were walking in the darkness of the subway tunnel and they led us out into the escape route and when we got up to the top of the street I remember turning around and seeing one of the twin towers on fire. I was staring down at the World Trade Center towers and that is when the first tower collapsed. All the smoke and debris was coming right at us.

Its been 17 years since 9/11 and I asked myself "Why after all these years is it still so painful for me to talk openly about it what happened on that day?'" The things I saw. The things I witnessed in the days after the attack are something no one should ever experience. Ever.

The reason why I chose NYC to be my first marathon was to help me heal from 9-11.

It was really cool when I got that phone call from the Pat Tillman Foundation. They only select a number of people to race for their team for the marathon. When they first asked me to run the marathon I doubted myself. I doubted that I could do the training at first. I doubted that I could run 26 miles, but at the same time, I said to myself "This isn't about you. This is about something bigger than you."

[SPECIAL SECTION: Pat's Run]

Training wasn't easy at all, especially in the Arizona summer. There were times where I almost mentally broke. It was during those moments I thought of Pat Tillman. It was during those moments that I spoke out loud and said "Pat, give me strength. Pat, get me to this finish line."

There was a moment at mile 15 during the marathon when I was already feeling tired. I remember seeing a guy who with a Pat Tillman race shirt. As I was passing him he briefly gave me a hug and he said 'go! go! keep fighting! go!' The support was so amazing I even cried during the race. I literally had tears streaming down my face.

When I crossed the finish line, I broke down. I cried for about an hour. Running that marathon and crossing that finish line is the biggest accomplishment of my life. the biggest accomplishment of my life.

I run for Pat Tillman. I run for our military families. I run for the people who have sacrificed so much for this country, a hell of a lot more than I have sacrificed for this country.

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