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Thousands participate in Pat's Run despite long wait times

On April 15th, former Arizona Cardinals star J.J. Watt served as the official starter for the 19th annual Pat's Run in Tempe, Arizona.

"Pat's spirit fuels thousands through long waits at annual run."

On April 15th, former Arizona Cardinals star J.J. Watt served as the official starter for the 19th annual Pat's Run in Tempe, Arizona. The race is held in honor of former NFL player Pat Tillman, who left his professional football career to serve in the Army after the September 11 attacks and was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. The race has become a symbol of Tillman's legacy and continues to draw large crowds every year. This year was no different, with so many runners and walkers having registered that some waited an hour just to get to the starting line.

Watt made sure to make the most of his moment as race starter by having a little fun with it. He knew it was going to be a long morning with the air horn, so he decided to put his own spin on things. The Arizona Cardinals were also well-represented at Pat's Run, with head coach Jonathan Gannon and several of his assistants participating in the event as well.

The legacy of Pat Tillman continues to live on through this annual event. Despite leaving behind a successful football career with millions of dollars at stake, Tillman chose instead to serve his country following 9/11. His decision inspired countless others both during and after his lifetime and serves as a powerful reminder that we can all make choices that impact not just ourselves but those around us.

The first ever Pat's Run took place back in 2005 with just over 5,000 participants - now over nearly two decades later - this number has grown exponentially reaching almost double its original size; last year’s virtual run saw over ten thousand registrants taking part remotely from around America.

One unique aspect about this race is its length- precisely 4.2 miles- representing not only Tillman’s jersey number but also making it accessible for people who may not be able (or willing) to participate in longer races. The route of the race also passes by the Pat Tillman Memorial, a fitting tribute to this incredible individual.

The Pat Tillman Foundation was established in 2004 by Tillman's family and friends to honor his legacy and support veterans and military spouses through educational scholarships. The foundation has awarded over 700 scholarships since its inception, with recipients attending colleges and universities across the country.

Pat's Run is just one of many ways in which the foundation continues to raise awareness about Tillman's story and inspire others to follow in his footsteps. In addition to the annual race, there are other events throughout the year aimed at honoring Tillman's legacy while also supporting veterans and their families.

Through these efforts, Pat Tillman has become more than just a former NFL player or war hero - he has become a symbol of selflessness, sacrifice, and service that continues to inspire generations. As J.J. Watt said during an interview before starting the race: "He was someone who did something bigger than’s important that we remember stories like that."

As participants crossed the finish line at this year’s Pat’s Run - some may have been exhausted from running (or walking) 4.2 miles- but all could feel proud knowing they were part of something much greater; remembering an inspiring story of someone who put their own life on hold for others- ultimately making it possible for us now to run (or walk) together as one community towards a better future- inspired by a true American hero named Pat Tillman!