Pat’s Run: Honoring A Fallen Hero

The organizers of Pat’s Run this year want high schools to show their true colors.

“We want high school kids from all over the Valley to show up this year and show their school spirit,” says Rob Gilmore, a teacher at Mountain Ridge High School and one of the many organizers for the event. “We’re encouraging them to form teams of five runners from each school, who will wear clothes and colors that represent their schools.” Gilmore is a former prep football coach who just recently took up marathon running to lose weight; in just the last year, he says he has lost 110 pounds.

He remembers watching Tillman, the former ASU and Arizona Cardinals football player killed in Afghanistan in 2004, play as a teenager in San Jose, Calif. He also recalls running into Tillman again years later at a Cardinals training camp. Tillman’s “honorable, personal style” overwhelmed him and left a lasting memory that today compels him to devote large amounts of volunteer time in support of the non-profit Pat Tillman Foundation.

“Pat was goal-oriented,” says Gilmore. “I want these kids today to understand that, if you have a goal, your drive comes from it. It’s easy to reach your goals if you have a purpose.”

Gilmore points out that “100%” of the money raised from the 4.2-mile run/walk on Saturday, April 15, goes to finance the foundation’s Leadership Through Action program. Created by the foundation, in association with ASU, it ‘s purpose is “to develop the leaders of the future – inspiring and supporting them as they tackle real social problems.”

“There is no AIA involvement in the event, so schools can enter teams representing the marching band, clubs, or whatever,” Gilmore explains. “And why not invite your teachers to join? You’re with them every day in a controlled environment… take this opportunity to get them out there with you.” More than 6,000 participants and volunteers participated in last year’s run. This year, the foundation is preparing for 10,000 people.

The race begins on Packard Drive at ASU and finishes on the 42-yard line of Sun Devil Stadium. Tillman’s jersey number at ASU was 42.

Entry fee is $25 per person – but, if you enter as a team, it’s just $20 per person. A Spirit Award will be presented to the team exhibiting the most spirit during the event. Registration can be done online at

“Anything I can do to help along what Pat was doing, to make the world a better place, I want to do,” adds Gilmore.

This looks like a really good start.