March 10, 2011

Shade Tree Trot organizers ready to roll this year

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Last year on May 1, 2010, Vanderbilt School of Medicine student Rachel Apple and Chris Scally, M.D., helped carry a few of the pizzas donated to the Shade Tree Trot, which ended up being cancelled due to Nashville’s historic rains. This year’s event is set for Saturday, April 9. (photo by Ryan Fritz)

Shade Tree Trot organizers ready to roll this year

Last year's event was a washout — quite literally and on an historic scale — but this year, organizers of the Shade Tree Trot say they are hoping for sunshine and record attendance.

The Shade Tree Trot is a family-oriented fun run and walk on the Vanderbilt campus, organized by Vanderbilt University School of Medicine students.

The event is the main fundraiser for the student-run Shade Tree Clinic, and registration is now open for this year's event, set for Saturday, April 9.

Last year's race, however, did not turn out as organizers had hoped. As the crowds gathered on May 1, 2010, near Dudley Field before the start of the Trot, storm clouds gathered as well.

“All these people were waiting, thinking there would be a window where the rain would let up, but it just kept raining harder and harder,” recalls David Moore, a volunteer in last year's Trot and co-chair of this year's event along with fellow second-year student Jake Mclure.

That night and the next day, Nashville was hit with an historic flood. The timing of the race and the floods make last year's event hard to forget.

“One of our classmates lost everything in the flood, so our class just really rallied around him. We had hundreds of pizzas to give away that day and we kept the trophies and changed the date plates, so they'll be back this year,” Moore said.
Despite the cancellation, registrations and donations last year raised more than $20,000 to support the clinic and its work providing free medical services for the uninsured and underinsured in East Nashville.

This year they hope more people will form teams to raise even more. About 20 medical student volunteers work very hard to make the event a success.

“This event is great fun. Even the original designer of the race, Dr. Brian Drolet, comes back every year. That shows the impact this race makes and how important it is to all of us who participate,” Moore said.

Awards and prizes — most donated by area businesses — will be given to participants who raise the most donations, as well as the first man and woman to cross the finish line dressed in scrubs.

For more information on the Shade Tree Clinic and to register for the Trot, go to