Lilyfontein School hosted its Silver Jubilee Tomato Trot and Cycle (AKA the TROT) on Saturday 1st February. Our idealic country setting with beautiful vista’s of pristine Tomato country, hosted 2278 TROTTERS across six different events catering for all fitness and skills levels, namely the ultra-gruelling and mega tough 55km cycle, the enjoyable but not so easy 35km cycle, the original tough, hot and hilly 15km run and cycle, the beginner fun 8km cycle and the most popular event of the day, the 5km fun run and adventure walk. 

To host one of the biggest events in East London is by no means an easy task, and so credit and appreciation must be given to the hundreds of volunteers from the Lilyfontein School Community, School Governing Body, Parent Teachers Association, Management Team, Staff, Parents and Learners that volunteered hours of their time to make this happen.  This community managed three registration venues, seventeen marshal points, nine watering tables across six routes, start and finish line, and the food and beverage tents.

Lilyfontein School is renowned for putting on great events like the TROT, Funduro Funride and the Adventure Race which speaks to the ethos of the school.  This also provides a wonderful opportunity to transfer real life working skills to our learners in the fields of event and race management, brand activation and mass catering.

In 1995 Rocco Kruger, Danie Bessinger, John Brown, Ivan Dewing and the principal at the time, Jeremy Cranna, decided to offer the town folk an opportunity to run in tomato country as a fundraiser for the school.  They mapped and plotted a route through neighbouring farms and dubbed the first event as the ‘Tomato Trot’, which attracted 46 participants.  Twenty five years later the event attracts over 5000 participants and spectators on the day and includes 4 additional cycle events and a 5km fun run.

To celebrate our 25th anniversary we invited our founders to revel, reminisce and commence the signature 15km run.  The day was perfect, the sun was shining and the wind was gentle, the humidity was high and it was very ‘shushu’.  Part of the TROT challenge is overcoming the heat and pushing through the six difficult courses.  The routes are tough and are not to be underestimated.  The TROT is not for sissy’s.  Those that finish their races have certainly earned their bag of tomatoes and ice-cold juice at the finish line.

Lilyfontein School is an eco school, so we run clean and ensure that minimal waste is created.  We have recently been awarded our GOLD DECADE status from Wessa.  We use recyclable cups at our water stations and this year we invited the DNF PackaCHING truck to recycle the waste from the day.  We activated our ECO Club to move around and clear plastic and glass bottles to take to the relevant recycle depo’s.  This worked well to reduce the amount of waste on the day and hopefully impacted positively on the participants and spectators to remember the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Twenty five years later the TROT is still going strong and very well attended by the people of East London and surrounds.  As a school we would like to extend our gratitude to all our supporters that attended the event on the day. The money raised from this event is pumped back into the school to develop facilities and improve infrastructure.

Thank you to our naming sponsor BUCO for all their support over the past three years, our event sponsors TWIZZA and Crickley as the official refreshment sponsors on the day, Crossways Spar and Tops for supplying our food tent, Ideal Butchery our official meat sponsor / braai masters on the day, Happy Veg, Packrite and Rainbow Seedlings, for the use of their farm lands and tomatoes at the finish line topped up by Red Barron Tomatoes and Wild Coast FM our media partner for the event.