Runners take off in the 2017 Pats Run

Pitchfork strong at Pat's Run 2017

By

Penny Walker

Nearly 30,000 members of the community took part in the 2017 Pat's Run — the annual race honoring the legacy of Sun Devil and soldier Pat Tillman — in Tempe on Saturday, including a special group of 50 participants wearing shirts inscribed with the names of people who've served as inspiration in their lives.

The members of Team 42 got their shirts Friday evening and wrote the special names on them. Here, a handful of team members explain whose name they wrote and why.

Video of Pat Tillman Veterans Center - Team 42

Video by Ken Fagan/ASU Now

The annual race, which also honors all who've served and those who support them, is the signature fundraising event for the Pat Tillman Foundation, which provides scholarships for veterans and their spouses.

A number of shadow runs around the U.S. in late April accompany the event, which traverses 4.2 miles in Tempe — symbolizing Tillman's No. 42 jersey as a member of the Arizona State University football team from 1994-97. He went on to play with the Arizona Cardinals, leaving his NFL career after 9/11 to join the U.S. Army. The events commemorate the day Tillman died in 2004 in Afghanistan serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment.

The Pat Tillman Veterans Center also honors Tillman's legacy, providing a number of veteran support resources. It has locations on the Tempe, Downtown Phoenix, Polytechnic, West and Lake Havasu City campuses, as well as an ASU Online component. For more information about the center’s services, click here.

Explore the fun and activities from this year's Pat's Run in Tempe in the slideshow below.

Top photo: One runner flashes a pitchfork at the crowd as runners take off from the start of the 2017 Pat's Run on Saturday in Tempe. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now