More than 3,000 people gathered in San Jose on Apr. 30 to participate in Pat’s Run, a 4.2-mile run and walk for Bay Area residents named in honor of San Jose native Pat Tillman, who died while serving his country.
The San Jose Sharks formed a partnership with the Arizona-based Pat Tillman Foundation to sponsor the event, promoting the event through public service announcements hosted by Sharks players Patrick Marleau
, Joe Thornton
and Scott Parker during the Apr. 15 and Apr. 17 Sharks games. Information regarding the Pat Tillman Foundation and the run/walk was made available throughout the HP Pavilion on these dates as well.
In addition, a number of the Sharks staff and many of the players’ spouses and girlfriends participated in the event, both as volunteers and racers. Sharks mascot S.J. Sharkie also made an appearance at Pat’s Run, completing the course with the help of his trusty Segway scooter.
Joelle Thornton, wife of Sharks left-wing Scott Thornton, brought her children to experience the event.
“I heard about the one in Arizona and when we heard that (former Shark) Mike Ricci was changing his number to honor Pat, I felt compelled to participate,” Thornton said. “Scott was really excited that the kids and I were participating. We wanted to do whatever we could to support the cause.”
“I wanted my kids to be involved and realize the good they were doing for charity,” Thornton added. “We talked about the importance of being involved with the community and it was great for them to gain first-hand experience.”
Christina Marleau, wife of Patrick Marleau
, and Louisa Davison, wife of Rob Davison, both walked the course.
“Patrick thought that Pat’s Run was a great way to raise money for a good cause,” Marleau said. “It was also a fantastic way to honor someone who gave so much for his country.”
Sharks front-office employee Mary Grace Miller, who also brought her children to the event, said, “It was important to be at the event and explain to the kids how great of a person Pat Tillman was.”
Tillman attended Leland High School in San Jose and played football before he went on to attend Arizona State University. There, he played defense for three and half years, graduating with a 3.97 grade-point average, and was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals. He gave up his multi-million dollar contract to serve as a U.S. Army Ranger following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, joining them in July 2002. Tillman was killed in an ambush in eastern Afghanistan on April 22, 2004
Tempe, Ariz. hosted the Pat Tillman inaugural run last year with a turnout of nearly 6,000 runners, raising more than $150,000. This is the first year the run was held in San Jose. The race began on Via Valiente in Almaden and culminated on the 42-yard line of Pat Tillman Stadium at Leland High School. All distances commemorated the number 42 – the number Tillman wore playing football through high school and college. The event was open to people of all ages, with a special 0.42 mile kid’s fun run for boys and girls 8-years-old and younger.
All money raised by the event will stay in San Jose and be applied to the Pat Tillman leadership curriculum at Leland High School.
The Pat Tillman Foundation was created by Tillman’s family following his death. The foundation seeks to continue the legacy of Tillman’s passion and leadership skills by encouraging the development of young people’s drive to change themselves and the world around them.