Pat’s Run, the race in honor of the late Pat Tillman set for this Saturday, isn’t your normal charity run.
The distance is unique — 4.2 miles to honor the No. 42 jersey Tillman wore at Arizona State before his life was tragically cut short by friendly fire in Afganistan.
The ending is unique: Runners finish at the 42-yard-line at Sun Devil Stadium after running through a gauntlet of Arizona State players. They can watch the finish on the stadium scoreboard.
And the response has been unique. Tillman’s brother-in-law Alex Garwood and ASU’s former athletic trainer Perry Edinger were two of the three men who started the event and they were told they’d be lucky to get 800-1,000 people the first year.
“They told him the distance was too obscure or the city wouldn’t let us do it, or ASU wouldn’t let us do it, and Perry’s response was always, ‘You don’t know Pat,’” Edinger told Bob Young of the Arizona Republic this week.
The first race drew more than 5,500 runners. It doubled the next year. This Friday’s race will be capped at 28,000, with 22,000 runners from 48 states signed up before last weekend. About $1.3 million in scholarship money has been distributed to “Tillman Scholars” with money from the event.
“I sure wish Pat could be there to see it,” Garwood said. “I miss the hell out of him.”