Getting Ready for Pat's Run 2021: Sign Up Today
by Stephen McCarthy, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism Class of 2021
Every April, over 30,00 runners and volunteers come together in Tempe to honor and celebrate the life of Pat Tillman, a former Arizona State University star athlete and Arizona Cardinal who selflessly left behind all that he worked for to serve our country. After sixteen successful years, in 2020, Pat's Run was thrown a curveball when the COVID-19 pandemic shook the world and shut down large gatherings.
Despite the obstacles, the Pat Tillman Foundation demonstrated the perseverance that embodies its mission by moving forward with the race and shifting it from in-person to virtual. While the foundation only had a few weeks to make the transition, the 2020 virtual Pat's Run was a success.
The 17th annual Pat's Run will be virtual again this year, but this time, the Pat Tillman Foundation has had more than a year to prepare and they are excited about the improvements from 2020's virtual race.
— Arizona State University (@ASU) March 17, 2021
"We wanted to create a virtual experience that was a little bit more broad and more community based," said Henry Terrazas, the events manager for the Pat Tillman Foundation.
The foundation has partnered with Event Hub and RaceJoy to create a live race day experience, only virtually. The foundation plans to have a race day "main stage" through Event Hub on the virtual platform that acts as a one-stop shop for not just participants, but spectators as well.
Through this main stage, participants and spectators will be able to see race results, social media posts and interact with a virtual expo for Pat's Run sponsors. The foundation will also hostlive performances and have guest appearances on the main stage as well.
Additionally, RaceJoy is providing participants and spectators with access to live phone tracking, GPS progress alerts and the ability to send a cheer message to their friends and family who participate.
We love a good giveaway! Right now, when you sign up for a Pat's Run Challenge Series bundle, you will be entered to win a one-month supply of @SujaJuice. Sign up for Pat's Run, as well as the 10K or #42in40 (or all three!) here: https://t.co/q5EBJd9UhF pic.twitter.com/7QLN5TbZWm
— Pat Tillman Fnd (@pattillmanfnd) March 22, 2021
While holding a race virtually may come with some drawbacks, it also comes with many advantages. Now that participants no longer need to meet in a specific city, the door is open for people all over the world to join the race virtually.
"In a time where it maybe isn't so safe to travel, it's going to give a lot of people a new opportunity," said Erica Abdnour, the content marketing manager for the Pat Tillman Foundation. "We're able to see a following for the Pat Tillman Foundation throughout the country. We even have some international signups."
The foundation has seen an increase in out-of-state organizations registering their employees for the race as well as troop runs, where military troops are able to participate in the run from their base overseas.
The foundation is planning on keeping all improvements for virtual runners, even when the race is back in-person. "We want to maintain that experience for our virtual runners going forward," said Terrazas.
The support that the Pat Tillman Foundation has received through these trying times has been nothing short of amazing, especially when it comes to Pat's Run and the Tillman Scholar program.
There's still time to register for #PatsRun! Remember, in order to guarantee that you receive your race shirt & medal by race day, you must sign up by 4/1. We're giving away FIVE registrations each week until race day! Simply sign up to be entered to win: https://t.co/NBEWhjX5cf pic.twitter.com/jWNNK8a6KR
— Pat Tillman Fnd (@pattillmanfnd) March 15, 2021
The Tillman Scholar program is a scholarship opportunity for active duty military members, veterans, spouses and surviving spouses at U.S. universities. The program is one of the crowning achievements of the Pat Tillman Foundation and has raised $20 million and supported 695 Tillman Scholars across 166 universities to date.
"It's been really touching just how much people have made sure to support and post and fundraise and do what they're doing currently," said Terrazas. "People understand that this is for our Tillman Scholars. This is their scholarships and Pat's Run is our main fundraiser to make sure we maintain and follow through with our promises to our Tillman Scholars and make sure that they continue to get their education."
When asked what it means to still be able to hold Pat's Run even during a pandemic, Terrazas replied "It shows the strength of our community."
The annual Pat's Run is a 4.2-mile race that will take place on April 24, 2021, at 7:05 a.m. Arizona time. However, due to the flexibility of a virtual race, participants will have a three-day window to complete their run from April 23-25. While everything will be up and running throughout those days, the main stage on Event Hub will only be up on April 24.
Registration will be $42 and can be found at www.patsrun.org or through runsignup.com/race/info/AZ/tempe/patsrun. All adult runners will receive a Pat's Run 2021 t-shirt and a Pat's Run 2021 medal; kids will receive a participation ribbon instead of a medal.
There is also no deadline for registration this year and as soon as a participant registers, they will automatically have access to everything they need to participate. However, runners are urged to sign up by April 1 to ensure delivery of race items by race day.
As with any launch of a new event, there is always the possibility of plans changing. The Pat Tillman Foundation asks participants to make sure that they are keeping up to date with emails and social media to look out for any hiccups or changes to the event.
Stephen McCarthy is a senior in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism who will graduate in the spring of 2021. Originally from Scottsdale, Arizona, he has worked in ASU's PR Lab and has interned at Maag Commplus, a public relations agency, in his Sun Devil undergraduate career.