In this race, every runner has a reason - East Valley Tribune: Sports

In this race, every runner has a reason

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Posted: Sunday, April 8, 2007 7:50 am | Updated: 6:17 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

12,800 participants showed up to support the Pat Tillman Foundation; here are five racers’ stories

Toby Allen didn’t know Pat Tillman, but he still refers to him as his brother.

Allen, a member of the 40th expeditionary signal battalion of the U.S. Army, is stationed in Fort Huachuca, and had no reservations about coming out to support a man he greatly admires.

It is his second consecutive year taking part in Pat’s Run.

“He’s one of our brothers,” Allen said. “Anyone that dies in Afghanistan or Iraq is a hero in my eyes, and I wanted to pay tribute.”

Allen said he understands what Tillman was going through when he made the decision to join the Army. Allen was stationed in Iraq in 2003.

“I just know what he was feeling at the time,” Allen said. “He felt that he wanted to do his part for what happened on 9/11, and I really admire that. Not a lot of people would have done that.”

Ross White had a couple of classes with Pat Tillman when they both went

to Arizona State, and he knew from the start that Tillman wasn’t your ordinary student-athlete.

“Even if you just saw him around campus you knew he was a unique guy,” White said. “Once you got to meet him and know him, you could definitely tell that he was one of a kind.”

White has run marathons before, but this was his first Pat’s Run. He was out there Saturday to pay tribute to the man who left an immediate impression on him some 10 years ago.

“I followed him through ASU and his pro football career, and it’s too bad what happened to him, but I’m here in his honor,” White said. “He was a great guy.”

Lore Delluomo was like a little kid going to her first day of school. She laid out her clothes Friday night and was there bright and early for her first Pat’s Run – make that her first run, period.

Delluomo started training in November for Pat’s Run, eventually working up to the 4.2-mile distance of the race.

“This is my first race ever. Ever,” Delluomo said. “I’m so excited.”

Delluomo met Pat through her ex-husband and, like almost everyone, had nothing but praise for the man.

“He’s just an awesome guy,” Delluomo said. “And the decision he made … He’s a hero in every sense.”

Steven Rountree was one of several wheelchair participants in Pat’s Run on Saturday. But if you needed to identify him, you just had to find the guy with the ear-to-ear grin.

A first-time racer at the event, Rountree was in awe of the positive atmosphere.

“It’s beyond amazing,” Rountree said. “It’s this form of coming together that we need to create in the community. If we can just do this in a larger scale, incredible things can happen.”

Rountree is a member of the U.S. Civil Air Patrol and wanted to support his brother-in-arms.

“My question is, why wouldn’t you support something like this?” Rountree said. “I know this is something I’ll do for as long as I possibly can.”

Normally, Roger Cahill would be scratching and clawing for this first place finish. On Saturday, it was just icing on the cake.

Cahill, a four-year member of Arizona State’s cross country team who graduated last May, was back in Tempe for his first Pat’s Run and ended up finishing with the fastest time.

But Cahill said this time around, the race had nothing to do with where he finished.

“Just being out here (was the fun part),” Cahill said. Cahill raced with five of his friends, all of whom finished in the top-10. “We all came out to support him and have some fun,” Cahill said.

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