Tillman Run returns to Daniel Island
Pat Tillman gained notoriety not necessarily for actions in his military service, but because of the life he left for the military. As a professional football player, Tillman was the Arizona Cardinal’s safety from 1998 to 2001, earning acclaim for his skill on the field. After the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, Tillman left an NFL salary worth millions of dollars to join the Army Rangers out of loyalty to his country. Tragically, in April 2004, he was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan.
“I was in the Marine Corps, and I didn’t see any NFL players next to me,” said Joel Jackson, organizer of the upcoming Pat Tillman Honor Run on Daniel Island. “You don’t see a lot of guys dropping stardom, fame, wealth, and instead serving our country.”
Out of respect for Tillman’s life and service, the Pat Tillman Foundation created Pat’s Run, a 4.2 mile jog inside Arizona’s Sun Devil Stadium that blossomed into other smaller honor runs around the nation.
“What we helped out with was starting a shadow run in Charleston. There’s 30 or 33 of them in the country now,” Jackson claimed. “I think we were one of the first 15 to do it.”
In Charleston’s incarnation of the event, MUSC Health Stadium on Daniel Island will host residents who want to participate in the casual and family-friendly run on Saturday, April 27. The festivities will begin at 8:30 a.m. and go until 11:30 a.m.
There will be a kid’s run as well that gives children the chance to run .42 miles, along with an offering of prizes and souvenirs, like t-shirts.
“We do the same type of thing that they do out there [in Arizona], just not as on a grand scale,” Jackson described.
The 2019 event will mark the fourth year for Pat’s Run’s regional incarnation, and the organizer said that it has grown every year.
“We had 60 people the first year, 250 people the second year, and then I think a little over 300 the third year,” he stated. “Hopefully, this year we’re trying to get to 1,000 runners.”
Donations and entrance fees go to the Pat Tillman Foundation, which puts the money towards the Tillman Scholarship. This is a financial assistance grant provided to military personnel, veterans, and their spouses, who are looking to obtain a bachelor’s or an advanced degree.
For Jackson, the event is an important step in keeping Pat Tillman’s legacy alive.
“It’s probably individualistic as far as what it means to yourself, or to me, or to anybody else,” Jackson commented. “But for me, it’s a guy who walked away from millions of dollars playing football at the NFL level, because he understood what America means.”
He believes that the idea of the Honor Run is also an exemplary moment for national introspection.
“It’s just a really good day to think about what it means to be an American and to be in this country,” Jackson said. “Not everything has to be running around chasing money and fame and stuff like that.”
Folks interested in registering for the run can do so at the following link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/charlestontillman-honor-run-registration-54....