Tulip Trot Fun

Tulip Trot Fun

“We should do that,” my friend nudges me.  “We should support Green Street School, you know.”  

Yes, I think to myself: I think it’s a great idea to support Green Street School, or Academy School, or Oak Grove School.  But run a 5K?  Uphill?

Nonetheless, the idea takes hold, and I pester the friend to join me in the “race”, too. She doesn’t answer the emails I send as reminders, which is quite unusual for her.  But once I’m onto an idea, I’m rather a determined sort.  Eventually, she answers yes, and we sign ourselves up for the big day.

Now, I would like to note here that I believe there is a big difference between “being a runner” and “running”.  I do run–about a mile or a mile and a half, pretty much all downhill (not that hard to do in Vermont).  I go at 5 AM, and I go at my pace.  Running for me is not about keeping a clock, much less anything to do with the idea of beating someone else.  Matter of fact, I don’t really like to run with anyone else.  It’s my time, for me, in my own little world of thoughts.

Why am I running a 5K again?

The week of the race, my son mentions this friend of mine actually holds a high school track record.  This is information I would have liked to have known–before she urged me to go with her. Then she herself mentions she is currently running two or three miles on the treadmill.

I am beginning to think that my one mile, downhill, runs are not preparing me well for this, as  virtuous as I might feel about working out in the early morning.  

The big day arrives: glorious, sunny, not too warm, bright with promise.  Green Street School, indeed, does have tulips blooming for the Tulip Trot: the gardens have been newly mulched by their fourth graders.  Two tables brim over with food for after the race, and a stack of baked goods is artfully displayed on another.  The music teacher has donned his DJ hat, and has happy tunes playing while people check-in and mill about.  We greet neighbors, friends, teachers and administrators, as well as Green Street alumns/middle schoolers, and supporters from various other schools around town.

Soon the microphone is handed over to their principal, and he announces the start of the “Sprout Race”–three times around the school for the younger set.  We all laugh and cheer as they take off, eager to sprint and show off their skills.  Even their Gecko mascot joined in this race, his green form easy to find amongst the littler folks.

Then the big moment arrived, and we were all jogging down Green Street to Cedar Street.  “It’s not “down” to Cedar,” my friend corrects me.  “It’s uphill!”  The throng has a few competitive types, who have made their way to the front.  

Mostly it’s families and friends, talking and joking with one another.  I pass one friend, and find that there are four generations participating this year from their family–four generations of support for Green Street School!  

Soon we reach the Harris Hill Ski Jump, and Tulip Trot route veers off towards it.  I ask with real trepidation, “We are not going up the stairs of the jump, are we?”  

“Oh, no,” they assure me.  “It’s just the hill next to it.”

I say to my friend, “And why is it that we are doing this?”

She looks at me with complete disbelief.  “What do you mean, that I wanted to do this?  It was all your idea!”  We continue to discuss this as we pick our way around stones and tree roots, both convinced that the other had the idea.

While braver souls than our little group do, indeed, run up that root-strewn climb, we have a pleasant hike.  We accept the cheers from the cardboard-tulip-waving high school volunteers; I feel like a regular runner with their happy support, no matter that we are nowhere near the front of the pack.  

Once we crest the first hill, taking in the long-range view, we strike off for hill number two.  Eventually we wind our way down, behind the Neighborhood Schoolhouse, and out onto Western Avenue once again–where, again, indeed, we pass (and appreciate) more tulips.  Happy with our stroll/hike/run/walk, we even make it back across the official finish line–with minutes to spare before the hour mark.

Organizers of the event tell us they raised $8,000 last year, and probably about the same this year.  Over 200 people join in the fun, and the Green Street School community is off “and running” to pay their winter sports and field trips for next year.

If you are a runner, or even more of a hiker–or walker–than a 5K runner, don’t hesitate to join in this Tulip Trot next year!  You’re sure to enjoy it!

Jill Stahl Tyler is a parent to three children involved in the local schools–at the high school, middle school and elementary school levels.  She firmly believes in all education, and currently sits on the board for the Brattleboro School Endowment and the Brattleboro Town School Board. Contact her at jill@globalcow.com.


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