The 17th annual Pat’s Run takes place Saturday, with the entire nation invited to participate.
Usually run in Tempe, Arizona, this year’s pandemic edition will be held virtually, with each runner selecting their course.
“Pat’s Run 2021 is virtual, but we’re still coming together virtually to show our strength and celebrate the legacy of Pat Tillman,” wrote Mike Powers in an email to Reserve & National Guard Magazine. Powers is a retired Army National Guard member and the veterans and disabilities program manager at TEKsystems, the sponsor of Pat’s Run.
The event is named after the late Army Ranger and Arizona Cardinals’ player, who tragically passed away in April 2004 due to combat friendly fire in Afghanistan. Tillman gave up a successful and lucrative NFL career in 2002 to serve his country.
“Anyone, anywhere can register to run or walk 4.2 miles on April 24, 2021, wherever they are, although participants can complete and submit their participation anytime between April 23 to April 25,” Powers said.
The selection of the 4.2-mile distance was to honor Tillman’s jersey number — 42 — at Arizona State. The run traditionally finishes at the 42-yard line in Tempe’s Sun Devil Stadium.
The Arizona State University Alumni Association will also sponsor events in 13 cities following social distancing guidelines and allowing up to 50 participants, he said.
Runners and walkers can enhance their event experience by downloading the RaceJoyalso mobile app “to connect with other runners and view live phone tracking, GPS alerts and race day sponsors and special guests,” Powers said. To learn more about the Pat’s Run, visit https://www.teksystems.com/en/events/2021/pats-run.
Powers served in the Army National Guard for 21 years retiring in 2017. He began as a Black Hawk helicopter mechanic while in college and spent his summers as a crew chief flying counter-drug missions in Kentucky. He later transitioned into flying and flight instruction engaging in disaster relief and training operations as part of the 351st Aviation.
Throughout his National Guard tenure, Powers worked at TEKsystems in IT staffing. TEKsystems is a full-stack technology and talent services company formed in 1983.
“We’re passionate about helping companies invest in top talent to generate growth and activate innovation,” he said. “We’ve supported more than 19,000 veterans, active military and their spouses in achieving their career goals and ambitions since 2013.”
Powers has spent significant time at the tech company talking to Reservists and Guard members about career paths and how to navigate the application and search processes.
“As time progressed in both my careers, I found myself advising military and civilian entities on how to best engage each other and have synergy for dual career citizen/soldiers,” he said. “This eventually led me out of IT staffing work and into my current role as the veterans and disabilities program manager at TEKsystems.”
And Pat’s Run seems to be a natural fit for Powers and TEKsystems. The run is the primary fundraising event for the Pat Tillman Foundation’s Tillman Scholars Program and the leading academic fellowship for veterans and spouses, Powers said. According to the Pat Tillman Foundation website, its mission is to “unite and empower remarkable military service members, veterans and spouses as the next generation of public and private sector leaders committed to service beyond self.”
“We’re honored to return as the title sponsor of the 17th Annual Pat’s Run for the sixth year,” Powers said. “The Foundation has created an extraordinary network and community, and we’re proud to partner with them as part of our ongoing commitment to supporting the U.S. military and their families.”