Sprint For Pat – A Family Affair

It’s not everyday that I get to spend a morning running a race with my kids. To be clear, I have a  hard time running races for “fun.” I’m too competitive and want to “race” all the time.

After winning the 35-39 age group in the 2011 Sprint for Cancer 10k, an injured leg held me back this year. Looking back, I couldn’t be happier that it did. It made my decision to run with my kids that much easier. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. But race day is race day and I usually prefer to go as fast as I can. One day, I hope they feel the same way and go out and beat their old man in a race. Competition builds self-confidence, I believe.

But this day was all about family fun.

The Sprint for Cancer 5k/10k holds special meaning in our community. In 2008, father/husband/runner/triathlete Pat Kane died during the swim portion of the Gulf Coast Triathlon. Here is the last picture ever taken of Pat on the beach with his two boys moments before the start of the event.

(Photo courtesy of: Kristin Kane Holland)

One of the last races he did before the Gulf Coast Tri was the 2008 Sprint for Cancer. The photo below was taken during that race and was used to create the design for the current Sprint for Pat race shirts.

(Photo courtesy of: Kristin Kane Holland)

The “two thumbs up” pose has become my go-to race photo.

(Photo credit: Ernie Janelle)

In 2009, some close friends of Pat’s and his wife, Kristin, began running the Sprint for Cancer race in his memory. Thus, the Sprint for Pat was born. While the name of the actual (Sprint for Cancer) race hasn’t been officially changed, when you look at all of the Sprint for Pat shirts on the course, you’d swear it had been.

(Photo courtesy of: Kristin Kane Holland)

Heck, as you may have noticed, his shirts can be seen all over the event’s official website.

Many of Pat’s friends and/or family members around the country wear their Sprint for Pat shirts in other races in other cities, such as Sacramento, California. (below)

Here is his oldest son, Colin, running this year’s race.

(Photo credit: Alex Hinerfeld)

This year, my son decided to run the race with many of his school friends, while I hung back with my daughter and ran/walked at her pace.

(Photo credit: Alex Hinerfeld)

My son, after reluctantly being dragged out of bed, surprised me a bit with his effort and ran an entire 5k without stopping for the first time! He finished 7th in the 11-14 age group. I was so proud. (he got edged out at the line for 6th by his hard-charging friend, Max. Lesson learned: Never let up at the line.)  As you can see, Max is diggin’ deep and coming after him!

(Photo credit: Alex Hinerfeld)

Many of the race’s age group winners were kids/adults who knew Pat or are still friends with his boys. I can only imagine how this would make him feel.

After having so much fun running the race alongside my daughter and seeing the effort my son gave out on the course, I look forward to running the race again next year. In fact, I think this will be my annual “fun” run. After all, memories — not the finishing time — is the real reason behind this “race.”

(photo credit: ChalkTales.com)



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7 responses to “Sprint For Pat – A Family Affair

  1. After all, memories — not the finishing time — is the real reason behind this “race.”
    Thank you Mike, making memories with the people I love is now the most important thing in my life, all the stuff can be replaced but once you lose a person you are forever changed.

  2. Paula Macnamara

    This was so beautiful to read. I am Angie Browning’s Mom so she has told me all about this race. Of course I love her Chalk Tales “Sprint for Pat” drawing. And Kristin….what you said about “stuff” being replaceable is absolute truth…..losing someone you love does forever change us.
    Paula Macnamara

  3. sue granzella

    This was just lovely to read. I’ve seen many photos and references to the “Sprint for Pat” on Facebook, and while I knew that “Pat” was Pat Kane, I didn’t know how the S-for-P had come to be. Reading this made it clear, and was extremely moving. What an inspirational movement of love and positivity can arise from loss. Thank you for your wonderful writing.

  4. Nancy Gaines

    This was such a beautiful tribute to Pat and Kristin. Starting this annual race is such a wonderful way of teaching children, especially, and families in general the importance of time together and for a cause. Kudos to you Kristin and all the families who participate in this important event, keeping Pat’s memory alive and helping others in the process.
    Kristin’s Mom

  5. What a cool race! Just reading about the race tugged at my heartstrings.

  6. Paul Andrews

    I will be running the race for Pat Tillman (“Pat’s Run”) in PHX on April 20th, 2013. However, this year I will be running with my “Sprint for Pat” shirt on. To me, Pat was more than a college roommate, fraternity brother & great friend. He was one of the hardest working people I knew, who also cherished spending time with his family. It’s rather ironic that every year, “Pat’s Run” in PHX is right around or right on the same weekend, as the “Spint for Cancer”-“Sprint for Pat” run in Atlanta. Best to all of you….

  7. Two thumbs to you, Mike, for writing this and capturing the true spirit of this race. And thumbs up to Kristin, her boys, and her supportive husband Matt for keeping Pat’s memory alive. Pat is forever in our hearts (and on our t-shirts) 🙂

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