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Pat Tillman legacy lives on 20 years later: 'Tillman Honor Run' this weekend

In honor of Pat Tillman's legacy, the Pat Tillman Foundation along with the ASU Alumni Association are hosting their annual 'Tillman Honor Run' this Saturday in Tucson
Pat Tillman Honor Run
Posted at 5:01 PM, Apr 05, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-05 20:39:42-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — April 22nd marks 20 years since Army Ranger and rising football star Pat Tillman died in Afghanistan due to friendly fire.

In honor of Tillman's legacy, the Pat Tillman Foundation along with the ASU Alumni Association are hosting their annual 'Tillman Honor Run' this Saturday, April 6 in Tucson.

There are many Honor Runs happening across the country from San Diego, Tucson to Boston.

I met with the event captain of Tucson's Tillman Honor Run, Gloria Hawthorne, who's a 25 year military veteran and former runner.

“If Pat Tillman was here," Hawthorne said. "I know he would be so humbled by everyone coming together to honor his legacy.”

You can walk or run the 4.2 mile trek at Michael Perry Park, starting at 7:42 a.m.

Tucson has hosted five Honor Runs for Tillman — totaling up to 214 people who've registered throughout the years.

The Old Pueblo has a powerful military community and about 50 locals signed up for the Honor Run this year.

The distance and start time both symbolize his football jersey number from Arizona State University (ASU).

“It’s gonna be a beautiful day here in Tucson," said Hawthorne. "Why not come out and support a great American hero.”

Tillman played football for both the Arizona Cardinals and ASU.

After 9/11, Tillman gave up his promising NFL career to enlist in the military as an Army Ranger.

Unfortunately, he was killed as a result of friendly fire during a combat mission in Afghanistan.

All proceeds from the Honor Runs will go directly to the Tillman Scholars Program.

“The scholarships from the Pat Tillman Foundation goes towards active duty, veterans and their spouses to continue education," said Hawthorne.

The ASU Alumni's Association's data shows that 50% of this year’s runners across the nation are active duty service members, veterans or military dependents.

If you're interested in signing up, but haven't yet — there's still time!

"Yes, as soon as they come up," Hawthorne said. "They just have to register online. You don’t have to pre-register, just come on over.”

Tucson's Tillman Honor Run will be Saturday, April 6 at the Michael Perry Park on 2755 S. Pantano Pkwy and begins at 7:42 a.m.

If you're interested, you can register here.

Jacqueline Aguilar is a multimedia journalist at KGUN 9. Born and raised in Yuma, AZ., she is no stranger to the unforgiving Arizona heat. Now this U of A wildcat is excited to be back in Tucson and is looking forward to involving herself in the community. Share your story ideas with Jacqueline by emailing or connecting on Facebook, Instagram or X.