Pat’s Run honors legacy of Pat Tillman, raises money for military scholarships

19th Annual Pat's Run
The event is in honor of Pat Tillman.
Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 7:37 PM MST|Updated: Apr. 15, 2023 at 11:37 AM MST
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TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — The 19th annual Pat’s Run hit the streets of Tempe early Saturday morning. The event is in honor of Pat Tillman, a star Arizona State University linebacker and Arizona Cardinals defensive player who tragically died in 2004 while serving in Afghanistan.

The 4.2-mile run/walk will take runners around Tempe and end at Sun Devil Stadium, finishing at the 42-yard line. Former Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt helped kick off the run while wheelchair participants started at 7 a.m., and the run/walk began at 7:05 a.m. The kid’s .42 mile run began shortly after at 10 a.m.

Funds raised from Pat’s Run will be donated to the Pat Tillman Foundation to benefit the Tillman Scholar Program, which helps military service members, veterans, and spouses carry on Pat’s legacy of service beyond self, empowering the next generation of leaders.

One of the first-time run participants named Joan said she’s already ready for next year--at 68 years young! “It’s amazing, I’m just in awe,” she said. “I was almost in tears when they started singing the National Anthem at the beginning.” She said that her inspiration to participate was in part, due to Arizona’s Family! Another runner who is a Tillman scholar herself said that to her, each year she meets incredibly inspiring people.

“They challenge me to ask I have a dedication to service? Those things are so important to me and important to the foundation, and just being reminded of that didn’t just change my academic life, it change my whole life, period,” she said.

Nearly 30,000 people participated in the run today whether by themselves or with family, joined by ASU’s Sparky! This year’s theme was called “Rise Above.” Watch the video below as Arizona’s Family’s sports reporter Mark McClune joined the runners, walkers, and joggers on their journey Saturday morning via GoPro:

Check out how the GoPro system was set up before the race here:

Scott and Olivia were joined by a very special guest just before the race--J.J. Watt! “I knew that especially when I came to the Cardinals that I wanted to do something with the Pat Tillman Foundation,” he said. “What Pat did and the sacrifice he made for this country and the selflessness he had, he’s a model. I think Pat is the ultimate American hero.” Watch the full interview below:

There’s no word just yet on how much money was officially raised for the event. “To err on the side of passion is human and right and the only way I’ll live.” - Pat Tillman