March 13, 2014

Upcoming events bring crucial support to Shade Tree Clinic

The Shade Tree Trot has come a long way since it sauntered onto Nashville’s 5K scene in 2004.

Last year’s Shade Tree Trot and benefit dinner raised $41,000 to support operation of the student-run Shade Tree Clinic. This year’s event is set for Saturday, March 29. (photo by Anne Rayner)

The Shade Tree Trot has come a long way since it sauntered onto Nashville’s 5K scene in 2009.

What started as a sidewalk 5K directed mostly at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine students and friends has expanded to a full-fledged race complete with road closures and chip timing, according to race organizers.

Now in its sixth year, the Trot is the single largest source of funding for the Shade Tree Clinic, a free medical service that provides primary care to uninsured patients in East Nashville.

Last year’s event, combined with the Shade Tree Benefit Dinner, raised $41,000 to assist with the day-to-day operations of the clinic.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm for this year’s trot,” said Elizabeth Berry, a fourth-year medical student and co-director of the event. “It has been established as a great and fun community-oriented event.

“We have really been able to build on the name and been able to market our event to the entire community. But what we are hoping sets us apart from other runs is that we are entirely medical student run. This is truly a labor of love.”

Online registration for this year’s event, set for Saturday, March 29, is open at Organizers hope to draw more than 750 people to participate. But if attending is not an option, donations are also accepted through the website.

The race is set to begin at 8 a.m. at the Vanderbilt football stadium. Same day registration will open at 6:30 a.m. at Gate 2 of the stadium.

Race packet pick-up will be held Thursday, March 27, from 3-8 p.m. at the Athlete’s House, 1700 Portland Ave., and again on Friday, March 28, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Light Hall, South Lobby.

Bands will be located throughout the course to provide entertainment and support and participants will be able to enjoy several food truck options at the end of the race. A portion of the food sales will benefit the clinic.

“The money raised through these events helps us fund many of the programs at the clinic, including the pharmacy, to ensure that everyone has access to medications,” said fourth-year medical student Andrew Medvecz, co-director of the event. “Since this clinic opened, more than 1,300 people have received health care services through us at no cost to them.”