Sarah Illingworth's Commuter Challenge Story

This fall we challenged our staff to shake up their routines by replacing a trip they typically take by car with any other means of transportation. Our Communications Coordinator, Sarah Illingworth, took us up on the challenge. Here’s her story! 

For this commuter challenge, I decided to run to Open Gym at Burlington High School (I’m the Varsity Assistant Coach). Open Gym is every Tuesday and is available for any girl at BHS to attend during the fall season before basketball starts. I’m not allowed to coach the players during this time at the Open Gym but I need to be there to monitor and make sure no one gets hurt! 

Before my trip, I checked out Google Maps for my best route to the gym. There were several available options, but after thinking it through, I decided to travel along the Island Line Trail. To get there, I’d take a series of sidewalks through Burlington’s South End.

So I laced up my sneakers, put on my reflective vest (it’s getting dark earlier now at night and I needed to make sure I’d be safe and seen), stashed my headlamp in my backpack (as well as a jacket because the temperatures were dropping) and headed out the door. 

As I started my journey enjoying the brisk fall evening I noticed the beautiful sunset so I picked up my pace and headed to Perkins Pier as fast as I could. 

My sprint from the South End to Perkins Pier was well worth it. I basked in the amazing views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack mountains, and felt grateful that I was out on my feet, breathing fresh air and not stressed out in traffic!

When the sun finally slipped behind the mountains, I started my journey back up again and traveled along the Island Line Trail. The path was full of bikers, walkers, dogs, and strollers. I put on my headlamp as the darkness steadily increased. I cut across the North Beach Campground and climbed the North Beach road to BHS. I arrived a few minutes behind my planned schedule, but stopping for the sunset was so worth it! 

I’ve always thought about running as exercise, but not transportation. This adventure showed me that it can be both and that replacing car trips with a run is an efficient way for me to both get around and stay fit!