Serpie Planner - event reports

Serpentine Handicap (06 Nov 2004)

Ros Young won today's handicap; the third time she has savoured victory in the history of this race. As she told me afterwards, she tries to win at least once a decade! In second place came Jo Currie, followed in third by Bob Davidson.

There were PBs for Charlotte Moore, Wai Sem Lee, Irena Greaves, Marila Perez Pantin, Rachel Powell, Jo Currie, Meliisa Glackin, Matthew Flett, Joanna Hymns, Ellie Liptrot, Gordon Robertson, Simon Coles, Stephen Marsden, Mark Pittaway, Annalise Pesa Flett, Deborah Russo, Andrew Blair-Smith, Robert Maslen, David Smart, Niall O'Connor, Marc Cashmore, Andy Davies, Paul Phibbs, Chris Saunders, Valerie Metcalf, Mark Braley and Robert Howells.

Despite not competing in today's race, Nadya Labib remains comfortably in the lead of the Tom Hogshead trophy rankings with 195 points. Moving clear in second place is Gordon Robertson with 165 points. The battle for third place is a very close run thing with David Smart and Jane Harris on 145 points, Rob Maslen on 142 points and Jo Currie on 140 points.

Many thanks to all of today's volunteers for contributing towards a successful and enjoyable race. See you on the 4th of December for the final handicap of 2004!

Simon Maughan

Serpentine Handicap (04 Dec 2004)

The last handicap of the year was won in fine style by Lars Menken. Lars set the foundations for the win with a blistering first lap and, although he tired towards the end, he held on to earn his victory by a fairly comfortable margin. In second place came Jemima Johnstone, with her highest place finish of the year despite being some way off her PB. Look out for a strong performance from Jemima in next year's Tom Hogshead trophy. Following closely behind, in third place, was Richard Smith.

On a cold December day, fast times were at a premium, so particular congratulations go to the following, who all achieved PBs: Lars Menken; Patricia Schuetz; Phil Kelvin; Rosie Ingram; Rob Maslen; Emily Robinson; Robert Howells; David Smart; Dena Beverley; Paul Phibbs; Frances Ngu; Christophe Fromont; and Brett Taylor.

In the Tom Hogshead trophy, victory goes to Nadya Labib after a terrific year of improvement. Her win is all the more impressive as she has been injured for the last two months, following her top-6 place in October. Nadya finishes the year with 195 points. Congratulations also go to Gordon Robertson, who came second with 165 points, and to David Smart on 156 points, who just pipped Rob Maslen to take third place.

We start all over again in the new year with the first race of the series on 8 January. Look forward to seeing all of you again then.

Simon Maughan

Serpentine Handicap (08 Jan 2005)

Gale force winds and the subsequent closure of Kensington Park Gardens forced the cancellation of today's race. Apologies to all the brave souls who turned up in huge numbers despite the cold and wind. I hope to see many of you at next month's race, due to be held on 5 February 2005.

Serpentine Handicap (05 Feb 2005)

Today's race was won by Chris Fox. In second place came Manuel Moreno, just a few days shy of his sixtieth birthday, while in third was Peter Procopis. Chris, Peter and Mark Pittaway currently head the Tom Hogshead standings. But how long can they stay there?

There were a number of fine performances today. The following all achieved PBs: Chris Fox, Peter Procopis, Mark Pittaway, Richard Jones, Andrew Davies, Jacqui Porjes, Graham Carson, Ellie Liptrot, Brett Taylor, Frances Ngu and Trevor Francis.

Thank you to all of the helpers and spectators who came out in their numbers today. If you would like to help out next month, when a number of regulars will be away in Lanzarote, please get in touch with John Walker or David Knight.

Serpentine Handicap (05 Mar 2005)

Many thanks to all the marshals who turned out on such a cold morning.

Today's winner was Brad Cobb, followed by a close finish between Ruairi MacIver and Marianne Fryer with Ruairi just pipping her on the line. PBs for all these three plus for Richard Jones, William Simpson, Brett Taylor, Julie Watson, Mark Braley, Damien Scott, Taryn Forsyth, Dominique Jeker and Mike Spray.

Congratulations to Eamonn Richardson who has now equalled Alan Woodward's record of 169 handicaps.

The Tom Hogshead Trophy is now led by Richard Jones with 56 points, followed by Brad Cobb (55) and Robin Gray (51).

Serpentine Handicap (02 Apr 2005)

Apologies for the delay in posting these results. A couple of technical hitches but we got there in the end...

Congratulations to our top-3 finishers: Leala Padmanabhan; Robin Gray; and Dena Beverley, all of whom achieved PBs. Robin's fast time makes him the early pace setter in the Tom Hoghshead Trophy this year. He leads with 82 points from 3 races, followed by Richard Jones and Ruairi MacIver.

Well done to the following runners who achieved PB's in this month's race: Gavin Edmunds, Rachel Brough, Nick Paine, Juliet Allen, Ruairi MacIver, Kenny MacLeod, Dean Wheeler, Christophe Fromot, Jane Harris, Marianne Fryer, Frank Markey, Hugh Shields, Rob Maslen, Rachel Powell, Frances Forsyth, Val Metcalf, Emily Robinson, Andrew Sinclair, Audrey Lee, Catherine Pooley, Tania Shillam, Nancy Labiner, Robert Kay, Lisa Pettit, Christien Bird, Alistair Gear, Richard Jones, Graham Carson, Dominic Whelan, Wanda Smith and Diana Profir.

Finally, very warm congratulations to Eamonn Richardson on completing a record 168 handicap races.

Next month's race takes place on 7 May 2005. See you then!
Simon Maughan

Serpentine Handicap (07 May 2005)

The following runners achieved PBs this month: Kenny MacLeod; Richard Jones; Sally Hodge; Justin Brown; Dean Wheeler; Shane Chenery; Simon Bampfylde; Mark Braley; Michael Pedro; Julie Watson; Catherine Pooley; Sonali De Silva; Roberto Ramos. Congratulations to each of them.

In the Tom Hogshead trophy, Richard Jones leads the way on 99 points, followed by Robin Gray on 94 and Ken Kwok on 67.

Serpentine Handicap (04 Jun 2005)

The following runners achieved PBs this month: Rachel Powell; William Simpson; Robert Howells; David Smart; Andrew Davies; Justin Lock; Christel Beukes; Ian Hodge; Paul Phibbs; Francesca Wright; Justin Brown; Simon Bampfylde; Roberto Ramos; Nikolai Pitchforth; Sonali De Silva; Joysheel Mitter; Wayne Maurer; Audrey Lee; Michael Pedro; Claire Warner; Michael Connolly; Alistair Howells; Yuko Blair-Smith; Hel James. Congratulations to each of them.

In the Tom Hogshead trophy, Richard Jones continues to lead the way on 99 points despite not racing. Robin Gray is second with 94 points and Ken Kwok, third, on 85 points.

Serpentine Handicap (25 Jun 2005)

The following runners achieved PBs this month: William Simpson; Liz Tapp; Mark Braley; Justin Lock; Andrew Maynard; Robert Howells; Catherine Pooley; Richard Jones; Bradley Cobb; Bradley Cobb; Wayne Maurer; Julie Watson; Miguel Branco; Justin Brown; Yuko Blair-Smith; Alistair Howells; Hel James; Matt Cunnane; Trevor Francis; Claire Swann; James Edgar; Kay Murfin. Congratulations to each of them.

In the Tom Hogshead trophy, Richard Jones continues to dominate, following yet another PB. He is way out in front with 117 points. David Smart has moved into second on 99 points, ahead of Ken Kwok on 94 points.

Serpentine Handicap (06 Aug 2005)

Today's race was won by Sue-Ellen Horrocks and there couldn't have been a more popular winner. Sue-Ellen has been coming to the handicap regularly for the past 6 months, desperately trying to shake off a start time dating from July 2000. Finally, after losing 5 minutes from her start time, she was able to reap the rewards her recent imporvements have merited. In second place today was William Simpson with another remarkably consistent performance, followed in third by Anthony Stranger-Jones.

In the Tom Hogshead series, William's second-placed effort takes him to the top of the rankings on 118 points. He heads the previous leader, Richard Jones, by just one point. David Smart stays in third on 99 points.

There were PBs for each of the following: William Simpson; Andrew McGovern; Miguel Branco; Wayne Maurer; Valerie Metcalf; Lizzie Bott; Mark Braley; Eric Mills; Chris Williams; Francis Bulman; James Edgar; Guy Regis; Michael Connolly; Emily Robinson; Wanda Smith; Andrew Sinclair; Annelise Pesa Flett; Michael Pedro; Roberto Ramos; Hel James; Josh Gonnella; James Paterson; Tania Shillam; Kay Murfin; Jes

Serpentine Handicap (03 Sep 2005)

William Simpson took the honours yet again with another fabulous run. He has now improved by seven minutes over the last 5 races, which explains why he continues to win races despite an ever-increasing handicap weighting. It remains to be seen whether he can keep his rate of improvement going for the rest of the year. In second place today was Helen Pidd in only her second outing at this event, followed by last month\'s winner, Sue Ellen Horrocks, who took third.

The results today confirmed William\'s place at the head of the Tom Hogshead leaderboard. He now has 150 points, some way clear of previous leader Richard Jones on 128. Phil Kelvin moves into third on 120 points after a top-6 finish today.

There were PBs today for each of the following: William Simpson; Helen Pidd; Neil Davies; Wayne Maurer; Phil Kelvin; Quintin Wright; Justin Lock; Justin Brown; Yuko Blair-Smith; Francesca Wright; Alistair Howells; Francis Bulman; Sonali De Silva; Mikael Nedegard; Jes

Serpentine Handicap (01 Oct 2005)

Today\'s race was won by Jane Ramon, who improved dramatically on her first race outing last month. Dean Wheeler and Justin Lock were second and third respectively, having run almost side by side for from gun to tape.

Justin\'s good run moved him up the Tom Hogshead rankings to second on 145 points, just 15 points behind leader William Simpson. With both still having two races to count for points, it is likely that the winner won\'t be decided until the last race of the year on 4 December. Ken Kwok and David Smart are not far behind Justin, on 138 and 134 points respectively, but they have both already run 8 scoring races this year, so they have less of an opportunity to increase their overall scores.

There were PBs today for the following runners: Jane Ramon; Dean Wheeler; Justin Lock; Oliver Foster; Philip Cuypers; Lars Menken; Chris Fox; David Smart; Hel James; Joysheel Mitter; Alison Wright; Luyi Brown; John McDonald; Helen Pidd; Bev Bates; Jeremy Freer and Andrew Henderson. Congratulations to each of them.

Next month\'s race is on 5 November 2005. Lynne and I are going to be away so, if you are not running, please offer your assistance to John Walker and David Knight.

Serpentine Handicap (03 Dec 2005)

Well, what a finish to the Tom Hogshead series! We knew it was going to be a close-run thing but surely no-one could have predicted it would come down to just a single solitary point. Justin Lock\'s fine run and first place in the December race took his 8-race points total to a massive 201 points. But William Simpson claimed this year\'s crown following yet another PB and a timely 5th place finish, to give him a grand total of 202 points. Congratulations to both of them for making it such an exciting series. Well done too to Ken Kwok whose fine year was capped with another top-10 performance, giving him third place overall in the Tom Hogshead series.

Following close on Justin\'s heels in the December race was Jean-Luc Hoez. The battle for third place saw a very close finish, with Mark Braley eventually edging out the President, Hilary Walker.

The following people achieved PBs in difficult conditions today: Catherine Bradford; Andrew Henderson; Mark La Frenais; George Allan; Robert Szyszko; and Sam Wickens. Congratulations to each of them.

Prizes will be awarded at the club Christmas Party on Friday. The first race of 2006 will take place on Saturday 7 January. Look forward to seeing you all then.

Simon Maughan

Serpentine Handicap (07 Jan 2006)

Belated thanks to the 78 people who turned out to take part in the first race for 2006, in somewhat wet and cold conditions. It is fantastic to have so many people supporting the event.

Congratulations to Liz Tapp for being our first race winner for the year. She was followed by Alistair Howells in second place and Richard Smith in 3rd place.

Many thanks also, to the volunteers who turned out to help (in the rain!)- David Knight, Rachel Jarvis, John Walker, Beate Vogt, Ron Hagell, Robin Tuddenham, John Mcdonald, Audrey Lee, Jemima Johnstone, and Rachel Powell.

The following runners achieved PB

Serpentine Handicap (04 Feb 2006)

Well done to the 77 runners who completed the February race

Congratulations to the top three finishers this month- all females. The winner of this month\'s race was Claire Swann, followed by Leala Padmanabhan and Phil Kelvin in third place. These three ladies all achieved PB\'s for the course.

Phil Kelvin is now leading the Tom Hogshead Trophy with 54 points, followed by Leala (50 points) and in third place is William Simpson(44 points).

Other runners who achieved PB\'s in the February race were Jeanette Mueller, Jane Harris, Audrey Lee, William Simpson, Josh Gonella, James Edgar, Annelise Pesa Flett, John Lund, John McDonald, George Alan, Sharon Lindores, Andrew Sinclair, Joanne Wilson, Pani Voskou, Bev Bates, Carol McLaughlin, Ruth Clifton, Robin Tuddenham, Wayne Smith, Carsten Dunnert, Georgina McFadyen, Kendra Marsh, Dominic Walker and Pareezad Khambata.

Many thanks to the volunteers who helped to stage a smooth race on a somewhat cold morning- David Knight, Rob Maslen, Rachel Jarvis, Alistair Howell, Rachel Powell and Laura Denness.

Next months race will take place on Saturday 4th March.

Lynne Maughan

Serpentine Handicap (04 Mar 2006)

Congratulations to Sid Wills who was the winner of the race. In second place was Ruth Jackson and in third position James Stratford.

PB\'s were achieved by Chris Notton, Hel James, John McDonald, Bev Bates, Alexander Gass, Wayne Smith, Ruth Clifton, Lula Russo and Ranji Thangiah.

Huw Keene and William Simpson currently lead the Tom Hogshead Trophy followed closely by Phil Kelvin.

Thanks to the volunteers who helped stage the race- David Knight, Beate Vogt, Rachel Jarvis, John Walker, James Edgar, Sue Ellen Horrocks, Rachel Powell, Andy Sinclair, Audrey Lee, Bev Thomas and Rob Maslen.

Next months race is scheduled to take place on Saturday 1st April.

Serpentine Handicap (01 Apr 2006)

Congratulations to Bev Bates who was the winner of the handicap today. In second place was Alistair Howells, followed by Rob Maslen in third place.

Several runners achieved PB\'s for the course:
Bev Bates, Alistair Howells, Piers Faulkner, George Allan, Lula Russo, Wayne Smith, Abdifatah Dhuhulow, Victor Ramalho.

William Simpson currently leads the Tom Hogshead Trophy with 87 points, followed by Bev Bates with 77 points and Jane Harris on 76 points.

Many thanks to our volunteers without whom the race would not have run so smoothly- Phil Kelvin, Bev Thomas, Beate Vogt, Ron Hagell, David Knight and Andrew Maynard.

Next month\'s race will take place on Saturday the 6th of May.

Serpentine Handicap (06 May 2006)

A brave finish from Bob Davidson saw off the competition in Saturday\'s race with a fabulous performance (72% age graded), coming in well over a minute in front of second place John McDonald, who in turn managed a PB. Steve Edwards in third also delivered a 72% age-graded performance.

Following her win last month, Bev Bates came in a good fourth place, but in the overall table is still nine points behind William Simpson who came in just three seconds behind, with James Stratford just one second behind him. Both Bev and William got PBs. Can William really manage to win the Tom Hogshead two years running? He\'ll need a few more high scores like Saturday to raise his average above 25 or so in order to see off the many challengers with higher individual (but so far inconsistent) scores.

Other PBs went to Mark Pittaway, Lula Rosso, Wayne Smith, Mike Spray (a full 1 minute off), Abdifatah Dhuhulow, Sarah Appleby, and Rupert Shiers. Age-graded performance of the day went to the Handicap-master himself, Anthony Stranger-Jones, with an impressive 81.4%.

Don\'t forget, after your first (scratch) race you must wear Serpie kit to get points or to win the event.

Thanks to all the helpers who made the race so easy to manage. It\'s so nice that we can rely on club members to fill in when really needed, despite a clash with the decathlon. Special mention to:

Head honcho Beate Vogt
Ron Hagell
Rachel Powell
Wayne Maurer
Joanne Wilson
Jon Knox
Deborah Russo
Reinhard Kreth
and of course John Walker
Apols if I\'ve missed anyone

Serpentine Handicap (03 Jun 2006)

A beautifully hot and sunny day drew a very large field for today\'s handicap. However the race might not have happened at all but for the efforts of a couple of club members, Hilary Walker and David Knight, who liaised with the Royal Parks Police to ensure a locked gate along the route was opened in time for the race.

The race was comfortably won by Piers Falkner, a clear minute ahead of the next runner. Piers was clearly thinking ahead to future races judging by the way he jogged easily across the line! In second place was Francesca Wright, whose husband Quintin was narrowly edged out for third by Jean-Luc Hoez.

On such a hot day, fast times were at a premium so congratulations go to the following who each achieved PBs: Piers Faulkner; Francesca Wright; Quintin Wright; George Allan; John McDonald; Christophe Fromont; Dominique Masson; Guy Regis; Alex Elferink; Logan Campbell; Graeme Duncan; Caroline Ringrow; Nadia Salem; Leanne Keltie; Sharon Lindores; and Raj Paranandi.

William Simpson still leads the Tom Hogshead on 132 points. Moving up to second after a strong run today is John McDonald with 117 points; and in third is Bev Bates on 106 points.

Performance of the day was by Anthony Stranger-Jones, who achieved an age-graded percentage of 82.7%. Special mention too to Keith Evans who ran his 100th handicap race today.

Next month\'s handicap is on Saturday 8 July (i.e. the second Saturday of the month). There is no race on 1 July. We may be short of our regular group of helpers so, if you are not planning to run, please think about volunteering. We could use your support.

Many thanks. See you next month.
Simon Maughan
Club handicapper

Serpentine Handicap (08 Jul 2006)

71 runners took part in this race in Hyde Park on a gloriously sunny morning.

Congratulations to this month\'s winner. In first place was Robert Howells. George Allan and Hel James followed in second and third place. All three did PB\'s.

Other runners who obtained PB\'s for the Handicap course were Abdifatah Dhuhulow, James Edgar, Louise Croxson, Mark Coles, Wanda Smith, Asa Atherton, Dominique Masson, Adesola Bankole, Caroline Ringrow, John Dsouza and Jeni Vlahovic.

Thank you very much to the volunteers who helped stage the race to ensure that things ran very smoothly:

Mark Pittaway, Andrew Maynard, Bev Thomas, Malcolm French, Oliver Foster, John Walker, Jon Knox, Anthony Stranger Jones, Guy Regis and Ian Hodge.

Leader of the Tom Hogshead Trophy is William Simpson, followed closely by John McDonald and Mark Braley. See

The next Handicap will be held on Saturday the 5th August.

See you then

Lynne Maughan

Serpentine Handicap (05 Aug 2006)

The August Handicap took place this morning. Well done to the 75 Serpies who turned out to race.

Wayne Maurer was the overall winner, followed closely by Val Metcalf in second place and Andrew Hibbert in third place.

Congratulations to the following runners who achieved PB's:
Wayne Maurer, Andrew Hibbert, Charlotte Morris, Mark Braley, Elizabeth Whiting, Robin Tuddenham, Robert Howells, Mark Ashurst, Asa Atherton, Lucy McGrath, Alex Malzer, Piers Faulkner, John Dsouza and Yakimi Rabnott.

The Leader of the Tom Hogshead is now Mark Braley with 147 points,followed by William Simpson (144 points)and John McDonald (136 points).

For full results, please visit the following link

Next month's race takes place on Saturday the 2nd September. Further information about the Handicap can be found at

Serpentine Handicap (02 Sep 2006)

87 runners took part in the September Handicap this morning in a cool climate with some light rain. The race was won by Jon Knox who has been training hard over the last few months since returning from injury. In second place was Russell Dixon-Box who took 5 minutes off his previous best time. In third place was Sue McGinlay. Well done to these runners.

Congratulations to the following runners who achieved PBs today: Russell Dixon-Box; Elizabeth Whiting; Jeremy Freer; Chris Notton; James Edgar; Hel James; George Allan; Bev Bates; Asa Atherton; Andrew Henderson; Andrew Hibbert; Simon Judge; Adesola Bankole; Charlotte Morris; Aeron Ginnelly; Kate Laforet; Roger Coyle; Yukimi Rabnott and Camilla Darwin.

With only three races remaining for the year, there are still several contenders for the Tom Hogshead Trophy. Mark Braley is at the top of the table with 161 points, William Simpson is in second place with 157 points followed by James Edgar with 152 points.

The next Handicap will be held on Saturday the 7th October and replaces the usual Saturday morning run from the Seymour Centre.

Serpentine Handicap (07 Oct 2006)

Congratulations to Sally Hodge who won this month\'s Handicap race on Saturday. The race was dominated by women, with Sarah Lawton, Lula Russo in second and third place, followed closely by Liz Tapp in fourth. All ladies achieved PB\'s.

PBs were also achieved by James Edgar, Mark Braley, Hel James, Bradley Cobb, Jeremy Freer, George Allan, John Dsouza, Andrew Hibbert, Florian Leder and Leanne Keltie.

With only two races left in the year, there are still several contenders for the Tom Hogshead Trophy. James Edgar leads with 179 points, followed closely by Mark Braley with 175, John McDonald with 159, and Hel James and William Simpson with 157 points.

Thanks must go to the volunteers who ensured that the race was able to take place smoothly: Ian Hodge, Beate Vogt, Abdifatah Dhuhulow, Catherine Bradford, Kathleen Broekhof, Andrew Maynard, Bev Thomas, John Walker, Jon Knox, Simon Maughan, Andrew Blair Smith and Malcolm French.

Next month

Serpentine Handicap (02 Dec 2006)

Simon Coles came home strongly with a PB and a margin of over a minute ahead of the rest of the field to win today\'s handicap. A storming year by Mark Braley was topped with another PB of over half a minute to win second place and more importantly to take the Tom Hogshead prize for the best handicap performance of the year.

Simon Bampfylde and Grethe Petersen both turned out PBs in a battle for bronze, won by a 3 second margin by Simon.

New PBs were set for almost a quarter of the competitors today - aside from the four PBs in the first four places, others were Andrew McGovern, Lloyd Cowburn, Caroline Ringrow, Wanda Smith, Camila Gelber, Catherine Sowerby, Amman Sarang, Paul Murray, Luzian Wild, Tom Donovan, Rosalind Lee, Victoria Tham, Diane Lee, Monica Colussi and Pascal Peschard.

The Tom Hogshead trophy will be presented at the Christmas Party on 16 December, and the next race in January will see the board wiped clean. Will next year\'s competition be dominated by this year\'s Hogshead runners-up James Edgar, George Allan or Hel James? By returning runners Grete Petersen, Owen Barder or retiring handicapper Simon Maughan? Or someone else? Find out on 6th January.

Serpentine Handicap (06 Jan 2007)

Congratulations to the 86 runners who turned out to run the first handicap of the year - especially the 18 first-time handicappers Adele, Alan, Alexander, Amanda, Ann, Dawn, Eva, Jahana, Jennifer, Marcy, Mark, Melanie, Rachael, Steve, Susan, Tara, Tim and ... Urban.

The clear winner was Jeremy Freer running his 10th handicap and achieving a PB. Forty seconds behind, Ruth Jackson took silver, with John D\'Souza\'s PB earning him the bronze only 10 seconds further down field.

Despite conditions being hard, there were 19 PBs - the two aforementioned plus Gordon Robertson, George Allan, Caroline Reilly, Asa Atherton, Jan Farmer, Andrew Henderson, Margaret Reynolds, Catharine Sowerby, Luzian Wild, Martin Garrett, Camilla Darwin, Kate Laforet, Deborah Somers, Andrew Harrison, Feisal Ali, Andrew Reeves and Clare O\'Sullivan Wallace. Well done all.

After the race, Mark Braley was presented with the Tom Hogshead 2006 trophy for achieving the best performance in the handicap - his best 8 scores from 11 races run were 21, 26, 22, 22, 28, 26, 30 and 31 making 206 points. (Points are scored for race position and proximity to your personal best).

It\'s January - which means a new year of handicaps. This race\'s points establish the Hogshead 2007 table: Jeremy Freer\'s win and PB put him in top spot (32 pts), John D\'Souza third place plus PB (30 pts) gives him second.

Thanks to the volunteers who helped to stage this race on such a miserable morning: Mark Braley, James Edgar, Ron Hagell, Andrew Hibbert, Ian Hodge, Jemima Johnstone, Jon Knox, Andrew Maynard, Keith Morris, Christian Morris, Beate Vogt, John Walker.

The next handicap will be on Saturday 3rd February.

2007 Handicap Team (Jon, Mark, Andrew)

Serpentine Handicap (03 Feb 2007)

Ninety runners braved the cold to run February\'s handicap. Congratulations to all, including the 20 newcomers Catherine, Eoghan, Garrett, Helene x2, Jess, Lindsey, Lionnel, Lisa, Lucy, Michael x3, Miho, Nerys, Peter, Rob, Robert, Rupert and Thomas.

Dawn Farrow crossed the line first with a PB to take gold, closely followed by Sid Wills who couldn\'t close the gap between the Dell and the finish line. Robert Kay and Lula Rosso set PBs in the race for third, with Robert taking the bronze by just 3 seconds. There were 35 PBs in the 68 places in the fully-fledged handicap runners, 13 of which made up the top 16 places!

Last month\'s winner, Jeremy Freer, came 7th this month and scored another PB - this gave him another 25 points which consolidated his position at the top of the Tom Hogshead table (with 58 points). By beating Jeremy by one place in the race, Gordon Robertson takes second place in the table at 56 points. John D\'Souza is just one point behind in third at 55 points.

Your handicap was made possible this chilly morning by: Juliet Allen, Mark Braley, Ron Hagell, Andrew Hibbert, Jon Knox, Audrey Lee, John MacDonald, Lynne Maughan, Guy Regis, Beate Vogt, and John Walker. Thanks all.

The next handicap will be on Saturday 3rd March.

- 2007 Handicap Team (Jon, Mark, Andrew [in-spirit])

Serpentine Handicap (03 Mar 2007)

March's handicap saw 86 runners complete the two laps of the Serpentine. Congratulations to all, especially the 13 first time runners Claire, Ella, Fiona, Gary, Graeme, Katie, Lucy, Nathalie, Patrizia, Tamara, and Victoria (three of whom managed net times of 30 mins or under).

Lindsey Haig running her second race managed to knock over 5 mins off her time from last month to take gold. Half of the former handicap team (Lynne Maughan) ran a spirited race to fifth place setting a PB and nearly catching Claire Browse in fourth. Jane Harris and Michael Morris whisked past Claire in the final straight to take the other two medals: it was Michael who crossed second to take silver, leaving Jane to take bronze for third. This was certainly one of the most fiercely fought handicaps we have seen run for a while, and it is not surprising that more than a quarter of runners set personal bests.

The top of the Tom Hogshead table again features Freer, Robertson and D'Souza in the top three slots. However John D'Souza's PB and 9th place push him to the top of the table (79 pts) despite Jeremy Freer's PB-fueled score (76 pts). Although Gordon Robertson held on to third place (69 pts), Lula Rosso's excellent personal best performance moved her to just one point behind him (68pts). Ominously, Hogshead 2003 winner Sid Wills has moved up to 63 pts.

The handicap was made possible by the following volunteers: Juliet Allan, Mark Braley, Abdifatah Dhuhulow, Malcolm French, Ron Hagell, Jon Knox, John MacDonald, Andrew Maynard and Beate Vogt. Thanks to all.

The next handicap will take place on Saturday 7th April during the Easter holiday weekend when the park may be busier - so if you're not running, why not come along and we'll make you a marshall.

- 2007 Handicap Team (Jon, Mark, Andrew)

Serpentine Handicap (07 Apr 2007)

Conditions were perfect for a strongly contested handicap today. The race was, in fact, won by a clear margin of over a minute by Andrew McGovern running a PB on his 28th handicap. A thrilling three-way tussle between Jane Harris, Keith Morris and Rob Maslen saw Rob cross the finish line first to take second, followed by Keith third and Jane just missing the medals by milliseconds.

There were 22 PBs, including that of Catherine Bradford whose marathon training has knocked 3 mins off her previous best time. Due to a technical failure of, er, jon knox, the initial results listed her as first, but more than 12 months had elapsed since her last handicap, so the final results are as described above (sorry).

In the Tom Hogshead stakes, the top of the table is now more open with Jeremy Freer holding on to first place on 99pts, followed by John DSouza on 92 points. Sid Wills has now drawn level with Gordon Robertson at 81pts for joint third. Another fine run (and another PB) by Jane Harris means she is just 2pts behind them.

Thanks to everyone who helped to make today's handicap possible: Mark Braley, Malcolm French, Ian Hodge, Sally Hodge, (Jon Knox), John MacDonald, Andrew Maynard, Hilary Walker and John Walker.

The next race will be on Saturday 5th May.

- 2007 Handicap Team (Jon, Mark, Andrew)

Serpentine Handicap (05 May 2007)

Judging by the number of PBs this month, conditions must have been perfect despite the introduction of a "chicane" to the course. The race winner was Darren Nicolas, taking nearly a minute from his PB, with Brian Pickles in second, 10 seconds down, and Sid Wills (also with a PB) coming in third, just holding off Jeremy Freer (also a PB).

Bob Davidson had the distinction of breaking his own M75 series record, taking a hugh 3:31 of his previous mark.

Besides the above, there were another 25 PBs. Congratulations to Lula Rosso, Luzian Wild, William Simpson, Lynne Maughan, John Dsouza, Leanne Keltie, Abdifatah Dhululow, Joanne Wilson, Andrew Hibbert, Martin Garrett, Anthony Stranger-Jones, Peter Loveridge, Mihai Comsulea, Phil Kelvin, Diane Lee, Geraldine Nogami, Niroshee Gunasingam, Sam Allpass, Ella Palmer, Tamara Shaw, Amanda Moss, Abdulrashid Abdi, Tim Peyton, Rebekah Phillips, Marco Falasca.

Jeremy Freer's 4th place and PB widens his lead at the top of the Tom Hogshead table, although John Dsouza and Sid Wills also scored well to stay firmly in touch. With 7 races still to run this year, and only the best 8 counting for each runner, there is plenty of time for things to turn round.

Thanks to this month's helpers: Bev Thomas, Bradley Cobb, Florian Leder, George Allan, Ian Hodge, John Walker, Mark Braley.

The next race will be on Saturday 26th May. (Yes, the June handicap is in May, due to another event in the park in June).

- 2007 Handicap Team (Jon, Mark, Andrew)

Serpentine Handicap (26 May 2007)

The weather was kind to the runners for the "June" handicap (held, naturally, in the last week of May), as bank-holiday-standard storms were forecast for Sunday. Ellis Kurland, running in his second only handicap won today's race by knocking more than 5 minutes off his PB (set just 21 days ago).

Lula Rosso battled veteran handicapper Keith Evans for the remaining medals. Keith managed to keep the lead to take silver in his 110th handicap, leaving Lula two seconds behind to take bronze. George Allan's valiant PB was not enough to catch Lula.

The field of 76 finishers saw 18 personal bests - Ellis, Lula, and George, plus Alastair Gear, Andrew Hibbert, Luzian Wild, John D'Souza, Tom Donovan, Gillian McCabe, Claudio Belotti, Abdulrashid Abdi, Pam Rutherford, Mihao Comsulea, Darren Over, Graeme Young, Dan Parsonage, Fiona Strouts and Eddie Brocklesby. Congratulations to all.

Jeremy Freer and John D'Souza still hold first and second places in the Tom Hogshead contest, but Jeremy's comfortable 13 point lead from 3 weeks ago has been slashed to 1 point by John's tenth place PB performance today. Lula Rosso has overtaken Sid Wills to claim third place in the table just 12 points behind the leaders - however Lula is statistically the better performer as Jeremy, John and Sid have all run six races this year, whereas Lula has only run five. But the contest is only half done, with 6 more races to be won or lost. The eventual winner of the Hogshead is the runner with the highest score from their best 8 races over the year.

Thanks to everyone who helped to make today's handicap possible: Juliet Allan, Mark Braley, Ruth Clifton, James Edgar, Malcolm French, (Jon Knox), Florian Leder, Andrew Maynard, Grethe Petersen, and John Walker.

Next race: the next handicap will not be for another seven weeks due to the first weekend in July clashing with a stage of the (clearly mis-named) "Tour de France" through the park. The remainder of the year's handicaps will be held as they should be on the first Saturday of each month. So take note: next race 14 July (plenty of time to make use of Tuesday/Thursday track sessions to get that extra speed into your legs).

- 2007 Handicap Team (Jon, Mark, Andrew)

Serpentine Handicap (14 Jul 2007)

Ellis Kurland pulled an unprecedented second win in a row out of the hat to take gold today. Spies at the serpie track sessions assure us that Ellis used the long seven week break between handicaps to improve his performance allowing him to slash a minute off his pace to break his previous PB by over 5 minutes. Ellis now carries a whopping weighting for the next race. Alison Wright came in 20 seconds later to take silver over a comfortable margin from Helen James in third.

Among the 73 finishers there were 16 PBs - Ellis and Helen above, plus: Jean Luc Hoez, David Smart, Andrew Hibbert, Phil Kelvin, Peter Loveridge, Patrick Foster, Claudio Belotti, Ivana Olachova, Stephane Schneider, Pam Rutherford, Darren Over, Carrie Doyle, Dana Mazo, and Jane Whalley - all of whom receive 12 bonus points for their efforts.

And what do points make? Not prizes, but further ascension up the Tom Hogshead Table. The top three places are now ... exactly the same as last month with Jeremy Freer (155 pts), John D'Souza (152 pts) and Lula Rosso (136 pts) holding on to 1st, 2nd and 3rd places. Sid Wills is now snapping at Lula's heels (orthotics?) only one point behind (135 pts). Lula's points are only from having run 5 races, so she is statistically scoring more on average per race that the three boys at the top of the table (Hogshead points are the sum of the best 8 races run by contenders).

Thanks to everyone who helped today - Mark Braley, Laura Denness, Malcolm French, Jon Knox, Andrew Maynard, Val Metcalf and John Walker. These results are presently provisional as we need to double-check the end-of-membership-year eligibility stuff. (No changes to these results are expected, but if there were some, then we'd ensure the start times reflected them before the next race.)

Next race: the next handicap will be on Saturday 4th August.

- 2007 Handicap Team (Jon, Mark, Andrew)

Serpentine Handicap (04 Aug 2007)

Months of rain were made up for at the serpie handicap today when a near capacity race of 97 serpies took on the best of British weather. With most runners wilting in the hot conditions, Simon Coles used his endurance skills from Battersea Track training to romp home with a commanding lead of 14 seconds to take a deserved gold. Andrew Hibbart took a comfortable silver (with a PB of 16s) from Abdulrashid Abdi in third (with a PB 125s).

Although most runners posted times a minute slower than expected, there were nineteen Personal Bests, though ten of these were from people on their second ever handicap (almost everyone does better on their second race). For comparison, excluding scratch runners 20% achieved a PB today compared with 27% in July's cooler conditions.

Scoring max points for hitting or beating their target times (effectively PBs) were medalists Andrew and Abdi, plus: Stephanie Vaatz, Graham Carson, Ian Hodge, Mihai Comsulea, Camila Gelber, Claudio Belotti, Stephane Schneider, John Cullinane, Monica Kiraly, John Herriott, David Hinds, Robert Beattie, Lucy Viney, David Rees, Justin Lock, Jon Leyne and Ian Druce. All of these individuals get 12 points towards the Tom Hogshead. The target times for the handicap are based on an age-graded target "PB". As this reduces as you get-on-in-years, it is possible for you to score max points without breaking your original minutes and seconds time - as managed by Ian in today's race. You can also score max points by equaling your target time rather than breaking it.

In a change of fortune, Jeremy Freer is no longer top-dog in the Tom Hogshead challenge because John D'Sousa managed to finish 11th, ten places ahead of Jeremy. This has switched the lead between the two top places, with the top five now ranked: D'Sousa 176pts, Freer 166pts, Rosso 136pts, Wills 135pts and Robertson 133pts (scores represent the sum of eight races for all the top 5 competitors except for Lula Rosso who has only run seven races so far). The T.H. trophy is awarded to the serpie with the most points from their top 8 handicaps.

Today's race was brought to you by the efforts of: Mark Braley, Malcolm French, Raul Kharbanda, Ellis Kurland, Jon Knox, Andrew Maynard and John Walker. The next race will be held on Saturday 1st September.

Serpentine Handicap (01 Sep 2007)

(Provisional results:) Today's race had a little something for everyone of the 82 finishers - cool at times, warm at times, dry at times, wet at times. A well deserved gold medal was taken by Justin Lock in his 24th handicap who knocked off over a minute from his PB last month. Patrick Foster's personal best was not enough to overtake Chris Stagg who took silver in his 152nd handicap.

The fierceness of the competition today is reflected in the fact that 8 of the top 10 finishers set PBs. Congratulations to all 23 who achieved personal bests today: Justin & Patrick, plus: John D'Souza, Claudio Belotti, William Simpson, Tom Donovan, Graham Carson, Phil Kelvin, Jeremy Freer, Bradley Cobb, Susan Hutchinson, Mark Palmer, Ivana Olachova, Abdulrashid Abdi, Carrie Doyle, Jonathan Salmon, Ian Druce, John Cullinane, Marielle Vestlund, Monica Kiraly, Donna Clinker, Kevin McLellan and retiring handicap team member Andrew Maynard.

With John D'Souza's fourth place and PB bonus earning him a whopping 29 points for today's race, he has seen his lead - established last month - in the Tom Hogshead Trophy competition move to +16 pts ahead of his nearest rival. The top of the table is now: D'Souza 192, Freer 176, Rosso 159, Wills 145. With only three more races remaining, it will need some superserpie efforts to stop him getting his hands on the TH silverware (the trophy is awarded to the serpie with the most points from their top 8 handicaps).

Today's race was brought to you by the efforts of: George Allan, Mark Braley, Malcolm French, Ron Hagell, Jon Knox, Andrew Maynard, Stephane Schneider, Bev Thomas and John Walker. Thanks especially to Andy who is leaving the handicap team to go pastures, er, alpine.

The next race will be held on Saturday 6th October.

Serpentine Handicap (06 Oct 2007)

A near capacity race of 98 runners saw Laura Denness finish on top today. Peter Loveridge tried to chase down Laura's start-line advantage of 4m15s, but finished 16s short. Laura overtook 25 runners to take gold, while Peter had to pull out a PB to pass 72 runners for silver. A comfortable third place was taken half a minute later by Alice Rickford finishing her 10th handicap to take the bronze. Alice attributes today's medal and PB down to training more and talking less.

In addition to Peter and Alice, another 27 personal bests were racked up by David Smart, Tom Donovan, Graham Carson, William Simpson, Victoria Collins, Alex Malzer, Claudio Belotti, Jeremy Freer, Bradley Cobb, Monica Kiraly, Mark Palmer, Stephanie Vaatz, Rachael Elkins, Logan Campbell, Tamara Shaw, Camila Gelber, Helen Usborne, Marielle Vestlund, David Rees, Dan Parsonage, Lisa Wray, Sioned Morgan, Dave Geary, Kevin McLellan, Claudia Contreras, John Smyth and Timur Shakirov.

In the Tom Hogshead contest, John D'Souza keeps first place, but scored less points in this race than in his best 8 so is stuck on the same total (192pts). However, Jeremy Freer's 12th place and PB scored 21pts, displacing a previous 14pts race, and reducing the gap to just 8pts off the lead (184pts). Lula Rosso advanced by 6pts and stays in third place (165pts), still within reach of the title. But she faces competition from below as Wills (4th, 147pts), Simpson (5th, 146pts), or Rickford (6th, 145pts) could all theoretically take third. (The TH trophy is an annual award to the runner scoring the most points from their best 8 handicaps in a year).

Helpers and organisers of today's race were: Owen Barder, Mark Braley, Abdifatah Dhuhulow, Malcolm French, Ron Hagell, Jon Knox, Lynne & Evie Maughan, Mark Pittaway, Tanja Raabe and John Walker. Thanks to all.

The next race will be on Saturday the 3rd of November.

Serpentine Handicap (03 Nov 2007)

The first handicap after the clocks went back saw a record turnout on a bright crisp morning. Mark Fowler, in his second handicap, managed to shave four and a half minutes of his time to set a PB and take first place. Gary Hymns ran his best time of 2007 to take second place in his 91st handicap race. Ex-handicapper Simon Maughan returned his best time in over three years to take third. The medals for today's race will be handed out at a jumbo ceremony after next month's race.

In the Tom Hogshead race, the first and second place battles continues. John Dsouza shaved 5s of his PB to come in 6th and score 27pts; Jeremy Freer lopped 21s off his PB to come in 8th and score 24 pts. Last month the two were 8pts apart... This month, since John's 27pts displaces a previous 17pt score, and Jeremy's 24pts displaces a previous 14pts score, the two are STILL just 8pts apart. It's down to the wire: victory will be determined in December's not-to-be-missed race. Third place is now a four-way fight between Rosso, Simpson, Rickford and Wills. The Hogshead trophy will be awarded at this year's xmas party, and is won by the runner who scores the most points from their best 8 handicaps during the year.

Personal bests today were achieved by: Mark Fowler, Leanne Keltie, John Dsouza, Jeremy Freer, Alice Rickford, Andrew Orr, Kevin McLellan, Paul Phibbs, Nathalie Darbon, Monica Kiraly, Marta Campana, Giles Balleny, Marielle Vestlund, Ella Palmer, Rick Smith, David Rees, Anne Bennett,Dave Geary,Sanjiv Ingle, Helene Johansson and Cameron Smith. Congratulations to all.

Your race today was made possible by the volunteering efforts of: Claudio Belotti, Mark Braley, Brad Cobb, Malcolm French, Phil Kelvin, Jon Knox, Lynne Maughan, Hilary Walker and John Walker. Thanks to all.

The final handicap of 2007 will be on Saturday 1st December.

Serpentine Handicap (01 Dec 2007)

The start line of the Serpentine Handicap was today occupied by a 80ft Helter Skelter as part of the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, so the race start was relocated to the small hill above the course adjacent to the Dell Cafe. The course length remained the same, but the start had a gentle downhill, and the finish had a rise to the line.

Today's winner was Wai Sem Morris, who knocked 60s off her personal best to take the gold in her 20th handicap. Second up the hill was Simon Bampfylde - again a PB - 7 seconds behind. Third place was between Chris Notton and Alan G Hall. Alan's PB was not enough, with Chris securing bronze by two seconds.

There were 74 finishers today and 12 PBs - Wai Sem, Simon and Alan mentioned already, plus: Abdifatah Dhuhulow (on the first outing of his new running foot), Claudio Belotti, William Simpson, Paul Phibbs, Rachael Elkins, Peter Kinahan, Marielle Vestlund, Helen Usborne and Hugh Shields. Congratulations.

Today was the last race of the year, and consequently we can now reveal who is the new Tom Hogshead champion. If you don't want to know the result now, skip the rest of this paragraph. Last month we left the competition with a two-way battle for first and second, and a four-way battle for third place (no one in 3rd to 6th place could score enough points to take second). For third place, the battle was between Lula Rosso, William Simpson, Alice Rickford and Sid Wills. Today Lula scored 13pts (displacing a 10 to add +1 to give a total of 168pts), William's PB gave him 25 pts (displacing a 9 to add +16 giving 173pts), Alice scored 12 pts (no better than her lowest score, so still on 154pts), and Sid didn't run (so still on 151pts). This means William's excellent run today moved him up to take the bronze. In the 1st/2nd place battle, John D'Sousa previously led Jeremy Freer by 8pts. Today, John only scored 5pts, so remained on 202pts. Jeremy managed to pull a near-PB out of the hat to score 11 bonus points in addition to 9pts for being 12th - a total of 20pts. Unfortunately Jeremy's best score was 18pts, so the net improvement is +2, yielding an annual total of 194+(20-18) = 196pts. John has thus remained at the top of the table by 6pts. Well done to everyone who fought in this year's competition.

Jeremy and John were two who managed to contest every handicap race in 2007 - the others were Gordon Robertson and Jeannette Mueller. Well done to all four of your alarm clocks.

Thanks to everyone who helped make today's race possible (in difficult conditions) - they were: Juliet Allen, Mark Braley, Bob Davidson, Malcolm French, Martin Garrett, Ron Hagel, Ian Hodge, Sue Ellen Horrocks, Anthony Stranger Jones, Jon Knox, Guy Regis, Hilary Walker, John Walker and Ros Young.

The next race should be in five weeks on January 5th next year. Winter Wonderland will be continuing, and we expect more visitors in the park, so this is an advance notice - MARSHALLS NEEDED! Thanks.

Serpentine Handicap (05 Jan 2008)

The winner was Andrew Sinclair with a PB knocking 90s off his previous best set a year ago and achieved after overtaking Sue McGinley on the inclined finish straight knocking her into second place. Richard Long took a comfortable third.

Traditionally, January performances at the handicap are slower - too many [festive] pies. This was true today as apart from Andrew there were only four other PBs all of which came from runners with less than 5 races under their belts (and thus likely to be on the early improvement seen in new handicappers) - the others were Pete Dolan, Victoria Colins, Rick Smith and Anthea Rooke. Anthea's personal best helped her beat her daughter (Zoe) over the finish line by 29s - we think this is the first time we have had a mother/daughter pair run the race and look forward to the re-match...

The Tom Hogshead trophy competition starts from scratch with today's race. Points are awarded to each race performance, and the runner with the highest sum of their best 8 races from the year wins some silverware. Placing and performance add separately to the points, and today the THH2008 is headed by winner Andrew (32pts); second place is Tom Donovan and third is a three-way tie between Richard Long, Kathleen Broekhof and Owen Barder (all 26pts).

Thanks to the many helpers who turned out today to make the race possible on a tricky course - they were: Mark Braley, John D'Souza, Jeremy Freer, Ron Hagell, Ian Hodge, Jon Knox, Marianne Morris, Mike Morris, Richard Smith, Chris Stagg, Beate Vogt and John Walker.

The next handicap will be on the 2nd February.

Serpentine Handicap (02 Feb 2008)

Today's race was won by Emma Danks with a PB and 20s lead over another PB from Mel Pryke. Jane Harris took bronze missing a PB but managing a devilishly good age grading of 66.6%.

There were 22 PBs amongst the 90 finishers - in addition to Emma and Mel, these were from Joanna Hymns, Abdifatah Dhuhulow, Gavin Edmonds, Logan Campbell, Jeannette Mueller, Alan G Hall, Matthew Innis, Marielle Vestlund, Tamara Shaw, Sam Allpass, Michael Tunnah, Andrew Blair-Smith, Rick Smith, Pete Dolan, Peter Bowles, Nick Fidler, Catherine Dubois and Sally Riggs. In the Rooke sub-race, both Anthea (41st, 69.3%) and Zoe (61st, 71.5%) took PBs as well.

Tom Donovan leads the Tom Hogshead table (44pts) ahead of Jeannette Mueller (42pts). Third place is a tie between Chris Notton, Jane Harris and Logan Campbell (40pts each). At the end of the year, the runner scoring the most points from their best eight handicaps will win the Tom Hogshead trophy.

Today's race was made possible by the work of: Jeremy Freer, Ron Hagell (and chair), Jon Knox, Sarah Knox (no relation), Darren Over, Andy Sinclair, Catherine Sowerby, Stephanie Vaatz, John Walker and Ros Young. Thanks to all.

Next race Saturday 1st March.

Serpentine Handicap (01 Mar 2008)

Today's race saw 79 runners competing against each other - and the wind. Strong gusts caused waves to lap over the edge of the serpentine onto the paths, and the italian gardens provided competitors with a cooling and totally unnecessary shower on the eastern return path. Consequently, most performances were significantly below par/PB.

Month on month improvements paid off for nordic thunderbolt Marielle Vestlund who took first place with a PB of nearly two minutes and a margin of 52s over second place James Stratford. Michael Morris breezed home 19s later to take the bronze.

In addition to the winner, only five others scored personal bests - Graham Carson, David Rees, Matthew Inniss, Lisa Bailey and Cian Murphy. Half of the PBs today were from runners in their first or second scoring race - this illustrates how adverse the conditions were to achieving great times.

A strong finish by Jane Harris (7th) saw her add 25pts to her total to move up two places to lead the Tom Hogshead 2008 table (65pts). Graham Carsen, scoring a bonus of 12pts for his PB, rises to second place (62pts) with Vestlund's win propelling her to third (61pts) just above Tom Donovan (60pts). The Tom Hogshead trophy is awarded to the handicap runner who scores the most points from their eight best handicaps over the year.

Thanks to marshalls and helpers today: Mark Braley, John D'Souza, Malcolm French, Louise Full, Ron Hagell, Phil Kelvin, Jon Knox, Angus Searcy, Catherine Sowerby, Anthony Stranger Jones, Tomas Valasek and Olukemi Yusuph.

The next race will be on the 5th April.

Serpentine Handicap (05 Apr 2008)

Fairly chilly conditions greeted the April handicap which took place one week before the London Marathon ... though fortunately the weather remained dry for the 69 finishers.

The medals went to an all female line up: Jacqueline Morris and Poppy Lenton took gold and silver, both pulling off PBs of 6 minutes each. The bronze went to Jane Harris managing a PB and a lifetime best age-graded 68.9%. The top-ten was dominated by the ladies this month, with other PBs for Monica Kiraly (4th) and Carrie Doyle (7th); Laura Denness (5th) managed a lifetime best age-graded performance; Kathlene Broekhof (10th) managed a best ever age-graded handicap. It was left to Andy Sinclair (PB), Steve Turner and John Hudspith to salvage some pride for the gents by taking places 6, 8 and 9 respectively.

There were 20 PBs in the whole field. In addition to runners mentioned already, they went to: Abdi Dhuhulow, Georgina McFadyen, Leanne Keltie, Roger Coyle, Peter Kinahan, Graham Carson, Gareth Anderson, Ashok Jamdagni, Matthew Inniss, Patrizia Victor, Sarah Knox, Alessandro Poggi, Miho Nakashita and Nancy More.

Jane Harris' PB now increases her lead from +3pt to +17pts in the Tom Hogshead table (on 95pts). Graham Carson's PB extends his lead to +3pts over third place (on 78pts), which Marielle Vestlund is now forced to share with Kathlene Broekhof (both on 75pts). The Tom Hogshead trophy is awarded to the handicap runner who scores the most points from their eight best handicaps over the year.

Thanks to all the helpers who made today's race possible: Mark Braley, Jo Currie, John d'Souza, Pedro Faria, Ron Hagel, Alan G Hall, Jon Knox, Peter Loveridge, Grethe Petersen, Beate Vogt, Lip Fah Voong and John Walker.

The next handicap should be on Saturday 3rd May (yet to be confirmed by Royal Parks).

Serpentine Handicap (03 May 2008)

Ken Kwok was the first of 69 runners today, setting a age-related "PB" in his 88th handicap with a 71.6% grading. By comparison silver and bronze Ruths Jackson and Clifton only had a combined total of 54 races between them. Jackson came in 24 seconds behind Ken, and Clifton scored a PB 12 seconds later.

A quarter of the main (non-scratch) runners scored PBs today - in addition to Ken and Ruth these were Georgina McFadyen, Stephane Sneider, Asa Atherton, Marielle Vestlund, Kathleen Brady, Garrett Farrell, John Cullinane, Angus Searcy, Alessandro Poggi, Timur Shakirov, Sarah Knox, Poppy Lenton, Zoe Rooke and Steven Laverty.

In the Tom Hogshead trophy race, Jane Harris holds on to top place (103pts) but only added 8pts due to being a later finisher, another PB from Marielle Vestlund plus high placing - despite carrying a 1% weighting for her March win - moves her up one to second place (94pts) just 9pts short of Harris; Graham Carson moves down from second to third but a near-PB earns a handy 14pts to be just 2pts short (92pts) of Vestlund and comfortably clear of Tom Donovan and Jeannette Mueller who tie for 4th place (81pts).

Thanks to everyone who helped and made the race possible today: Owen Barder, Claudio Belotti, Mark Braley, John dSouza, Jon Knox, Lynne & Evie Maughan, Darren Over, Grethe Petersen, Kath Qualtrough, James Stewart, Bev Thomas, John Walker and Ros Young.

IMPORTANT! The next handicap - which for want of a better term you might call "June's" - will be held on Saturday 31st May 2008 due to Royal Park's mischief. Do not turn up a week late (or after 8:55)...

Serpentine Handicap (31 May 2008)

Today's handicap was the second to be held this month due to the Royal Parks having other events on in Hyde Park next week. Despite this, the Red Bull event at the far end of the Serpentine nearly caused the race to be scrubbed. In the end, after a short delay to the start, the race took place and 66 runners completed the trial.

The race was won decisively by Charles Doxat with a new V65 record of 29:04 (an average pace of 6:42). After the race Charles said that he'd "only been waiting 20 years to win the handicap" - proving that the gold medal can be won by anyone with a little patience.

Charles had a comfortable lead over second place Lula Rosso, who was comfortably ahead of third place Keith Evans. The term "comfortable" is used to refer to the time margin - the weather was quite unpleasant by the end of the race, illustrated by the fact that the only PBs were for Roger Coyle (just out of the medals in 4th and matching his time from April), Kathleen Brady and Keira Davidson. In fact Kathleen and Keira were both in their 3rd handicaps and so it was not unusual that they scored PBs at this stage. So hats off to Roger for improvement of the day!

Speaking of hats, many runners were trying the new club £8 lightweight hats to keep the sun off them and boost performance. (Richard Jones might not thank me for drawing your attention to that on a day lacking in best times...)

Other highlights of today's race included James Stratford completing his 150th handicap (and taking 6th place) just ahead of Eamonn's expected 200th handicap next month.

Other good performances just short of PBs were Lula (in 2nd), Brian Pickles (5th), Peter Bowles and (significantly) Graham Carson (8th). Adding all of the point-for-positions plus bonuses-for-performance onto the running total of the Tom Hogshead scores results in Graham Carson now taking the lead (116pts) from Jane Harris (112pts). Last month Jeannette Mueller and Tom Donovan shared 4th place, but now Jeannette (100pts) has claimed 3rd with Tom still in 4th (98pts). Marielle Vestlund (who didn't run) and Kathleen Broekhof (returning from an FLM injury) take the next two places.

Thanks to all those who made the race possible today (especially as Mark was away running in Stockholm/being poisoned by the Swedes): Jaran Finn, Ron Hagell, Phil Kelvin, Jon Knox, Sarah Knox, James Stewart, Bev Thomas, Tomas Valasek, Beate Vogt, John Walker and Ros Young.

Contrary to earlier assertions about this being John Walker's last handicap meeting, I am assured that he will be in good voice for a couple more including the next one which will take place on Saturday 5th July.

Serpentine Handicap (05 Jul 2008)

It looked it was going to rain. And it did. A lot. But it just about stopped by the time that race start came round. We had 83 runners.

The race was won in fine style by Abdulrashid Abdi, scoring a PB of over 2 and half minutes and an age-graded 77.2% (and the fastest outright time of the day). Second in was Abdi Dhuhulow, also PB'ing, and getting his highest ever age-graded score over any distance (and the second fastest outright time of the day), while third was Monica Kiraly (yes, a PB and an all-distances age graded best too). In fact the first seven all PB'd, as did 12 others - the full list is Abdi, Dhululow, Kiraly, Tamara Shaw, Helen Usborne, Stephane Schneider, Graham Carson, Kiera Davidson, Nick Fidler, Alessandro Poggi, Kathleen Brady, Simon Ludlam, Sarah Bell, John Smyth, Peter Bowles, Kath Qualtrough, Emma Danks, Ros Smith and Rita Mehta.

Graham Carson's PB and 7th place stretched his lead at the top of the Hogshead to 23 points. He now has 142, against Jane Harris at 119, Tom Donovan at 112 and Jeanette Mueller at 109. The top 4 have all run all 7 races so far this year and can only add one more "new" race, before they start to drop lower scores, making it harder to rack up big increments. So our full year medallists could well still come from a "hinterland" lower down the current table. For example Abdi Dhululow with only 4 races run is averaging a remarkable 26 points per race, against Graham at 20 points per race. Looking at the last ten years, on average, 8 scoring races at 22 points will get 3rd place overall, whereas winning the Hogshead itself needs an average of about 26 points.

The race was also notable for Eamonn Richardson's 200th appearance. Eamonn runs with the number 1 and his handicap chart looks like something from Tate Modern. We are left scratching our heads about what happened in April 1999 - did he get lost? His best age-graded handicap came in May 1987 (old course), with 73.7%, and a pace of 5.45 per mile. He has won four times (Nov-94, Nov-98, Jun-99, May-05). 200 handicaps - a truly remarkable achievement. And cracking cake and fizz too!

Thanks to all those who made the race possible today: George Allan, Mark Braley, Ann Foulds, Malcolm French, Green jacket bloke, Andrew Hibbert, Robert Howells, Jon Knox, Anthony Stranger Jones, Pam Storey, John Walker.

This was also John Walker's final "regular" appearance, but he's promised to return in September, wearing a shorts and a vest in order to run! In case you are wondering, there are no excuses and no exceptions, and although John did run in July 1999, his best in his last six dates back to April 1989 (yes, before the fall of the Berlin Wall!). He will therefore start on a totally unreasonable 24.15!

Serpentine Handicap (02 Aug 2008)

Today's race registration was fairly drizzly, but the rain held back and the race was only damp and quite warm: generally fairly good conditions for a handicap - especially as there was an apparent paucity of people perambulating in the park.

The race was won by Peter Tallboys with a vast improvement which led him to win by over ten seconds from a strong run by Georgina McFadeyn who managed to keep four seconds ahead of David Smart. All three medalists scored PBs, with David breaking the 80% A/G barrier.

Surprisingly (for the conditions), nearly 30% of the field scored PBs (20 of the 72 runners) - including the first 8 places. In addition to Peter, Georgina and David, these were: Roger Coyle, Stephane Schneider, Simon Coles, Abdi Dhuhulow, Alessandro Poggi, Mark Palmer, Tom Donovan, Graham Carson, Kiera Davidson, Angus Searcy, Sarah Bell, Michelle Howden, Poppy Lenton, Bettina Schreck, Leigh Kristensen, Phillip Sloss and Guy Regis.

On to the Tom Hogshead trophy race. The TH winner each year is the runner who scores most points from their eight best handicaps. Points are awarded for position (winner gets 20pts, second 19pts down to 17th place and beyond which score 3pts) and performance (matching or surpassing your PB scores 12pts, a little below 11pts, and so on to zero).

Graham Carson (159pts) holds on to top spot with another PB today. Tom Donovan (131pts) moves up one place to second, while Abdi Dhuhulow (129pts in only his 5th race of the year) takes third place, leaving Jane Harris (125pts) down at fourth. An "almost PB" (2s short) lets Marielle Vestlund (122pts) push ahead of Jeannette Mueller (110pts). The top 6 is thus man man man lady lady lady...

As this is the 8th race of the year, we now have some people who have completed eight races - these people can only advanced their TH score by amassing more points in subsequent races than their lowest score so far, and thereby replacing it. There are six of them (second no in brackets is minimal future requirements): Graham Carson (159pts, 14+), Tom Donovan (131pts, 9+), Jane Harris (125pts, 7+), Ashok Jamdagni (114pts, 11+), and Jeannette Mueller (119pts, 10+) - these are in alphabetic order. This list does not necessarily include the year's winner, as a number of other runners have not yet filled their quota of 8 races but have high scores - they include Abdi Dhuhulow (129pts from just 5 races), Marielle Vestlund (122pts from 7 races), and David Smart (117pts from 7 races).

Can Graham keep his lead? Had Abdi done all the PBs he can for the year? Will the ladies end up on top?

Thanks today to all those who helped to make the race possible: Mark Braley, Carrie Doyle, John Dsouza, Malcolm French, Ron Hagel, Jon Knox, Sarah Knox, Darren Over, Catharine Sowerby, Beate Vogt and Hilary Walker.

The next exciting race in the handicap series for 2008 will be on Saturday September the 6th...

Serpentine Handicap (06 Sep 2008)

Today's handicap was a quieter affair than normal, due to many regulars being away in Stockholm, resting for Sunday's 10k club championship, or expecting a washout. In fact the 58 competitors found the race took place in a gap between overnight showers and torrents of rain during cafe time.

The race "medals" went to a comfortable 1-2-3 by James Marler, Chris Stagg and Graham Carson. James and Graham set PBs along with 14 others: Tom Donovan, Michael Tunnah, Andrew Henderson, Hugh Shields, Gordon Robertson, Mark Palmer, Nicholas Beale, Mark Strewart, John Evans, Adrian Rosoga, Rosie Ingram and Rosalind Ramsay.

Graham Carson's bronze and PB earned him 30pts increasing his score by 17pts in the Tom Hogshead championship (it displaced a previous lowest score of 13 from February) making his total 176pts. Tom Donovan's performance earned him 29pts which displaced 8pts from April, increasing his TH score to 152pts - narrowing the gap to Graham by 4pts to just 24pts behind. Abdi Dhuhulow didn't run, but keeps his third place at 129pts with Jane Harris (126pts) and Gordon Robertson (now 125pts after a PB and 8th today) snapping at his heel. Abdi has scored remarkably well on the races he has run this year, but will need to turn up to the next three races and score at least 16pts on average to overtake Graham Carson's lead.

Thanks to Mark Braley, John D'Souza, Ian Hodge, Jon Knox, Georgina McFadyen, William Simpson and John Walker who made the race possible today.

Next month's race will be on Saturday 4th October and should see Sue McGinlay complete her 100th handicap.

Serpentine Handicap (04 Oct 2008)

It was pretty cold but mercifully dry with only a moderate breeze for today's handicap. Rain had been forecast, but held off for the race, yet it felt colder than the promised 12C. These conditions seemed to suit the runners with over a quarter of runners setting PBs, and one setting a new V65 record.

The big "international" story of the day was that Sue McGinlay, whilst jetlagged and injured, romped home 18th to complete her 100th handicap and be awarded with her Serpentine 100 Handicaps t-shirt. Sue flew in from Spain to be with other serpies today amongst the cold and wind. Well done Sue from everyone!

In the medals, Julie Spiers surprised herself to win in her second handicap by seven minute margin. Michael Morris, coming back from injury, managed to run his best race in four years to come in second, and Abdulrashid Abdi in his 8th handicap managed to pile on the form with another PB to take the bronze medal (and also to be the fastest runner by over a minute - almost breaking the 24 minute barrier).

There were 19 PBs out of the 70 runners being scored by Julie and Abdi plus: Alan G. Hall, Phillip McCubbins, Roger Coyle, Ashok Jamdagni, Gordon Robertson, Marielle Vestlund, Andrew Henderson, Kathleen Brady, Tamara Shaw, Alessandro Poggi, Sarah Bell, Rachel Smyth, Paul Goulson, Anne Bennett, Catherine Dubois, Matt Taylor and Lynn Plumbley.

Special congratulations go to Charles Doxat who managed to get round his 58th handicap today in 29:02, setting another V65 age category record with an 83% age-graded performance.

In the Tom Hogshead stakes, first and second place Graham Carson (176pts) and Tom Donovan (152pts) stayed away. Gordon Robertson scored 22pts (9th race, displacing a previous 5pts) to move up to third place on 142pts. Marielle Vestlund scored 19pts (in her 8th race) and took 4th place just 1pt behind on 141pts. Last month's third place Abdi Dhuhulow took 10pts to take fifth spot on 139pts BUT he is still only on his 6th race of the year - so the others above him have two more races of points towards their total. A similar situation exists for 7th place Roger Coyle on 133 pts who has also only run 6 races. Only Jeannette Mueller and Ashok Jamdagni have managed to turn up and run every handicap so far this year.

Thanks to everyone who helped, which included: Mark Braley, Sarah Knox, Jon Knox, Peter Loveridge, Georgina McFadyen, Anthony Stranger-Jones, Stephanie Vaatz, Beate Vogt and John Walker.

Next race Saturday 1st November. Watch out for notices on the serpentine website.

Serpentine Handicap (01 Nov 2008)

Last year we had a record 99 runners in the November handicap, but this time it was down to 73. Whether down to the weather (very chilly), or down to the credit crunch (the £1 fee may be a little steep - but the camaraderie is priceless) we nevertheless had a great race.

Ella Palmer ran the best age-graded performance of her life to take the gold in with a PB of 2mins that she built up since running the race 11 months ago. Ella was also the fastest female age-graded runner, and had perfectly balanced splits. Second was an elated Stephanie Vaatz with a 100s PB in her 7th race. Third place Mark Palmer also managed a PB of 40s. Well deserved medals all round.

Many finishers were obviously trying very hard against the competition and the conditions today, but only 20% managed PBs. In addition to the three medalists' personal bests the others were: Kiera Davidson, Gordon Robertson, Georgina McFadyen, Monika Kirally, Adrian Rosoga, Anne Bennet, Angus Searcy, Maggie Purr, Brendan Greene, Joseph Slavin, Susan Eggleston and Andrew Harrison. Hold your heads high.

In the Tom Hogshead, Graham Carson's 15th place in the race and an almost-PB won him 17pts for today's race (displacing an early 14pts) to take his tally up by 3pts to 179pts at the top of the table. Gordon Robertson had an excellent race scoring 27pts (displacing an earlier 8pts) raising his score to 161pts moving him up from 3rd to 2nd place. Abdi Dhuhulow scored 13pts in his 7th race to move up to joint 3rd place from 5th (and he still has one more race to make up his 8!); the other joint third place holder is Tom Donovan -- both are on 152pts. The Hogshead trophy is awarded at the end of the year to the handicap runner who amasses the most points from their best eight races of the year.

Thanks to today's helpers - Mark Braley, John D'Souza, Ron Hagel, Jon Knox, Poppy Lenton, Stéphane Schneider, Helen Usbourne, Marielle Vestlund, Beate Vogt - without whom the race could not be organised.

The next race will be on Saturday December 6th, somewhere in Hyde Park. We expect to meet at the Dell Cafe rather than the bandstand as the Winter Wonderwhy will be taking over the bandstand and path area. Expect the normal start time... but also expect the unexpected. Watch the website and check your emails.

Serpentine Handicap (06 Dec 2008)

Today's race saw 68 runners compete in the last race of the 2008 season. It took place entirely around the lake as the bandstand area was occupied by amusements...

First place went to a storming run by Georgina McFadyen who hacked over 90s from her PB of last month; she has managed to reduce her time by 3m15 over the seven races she has run this year to take this gold in her 17th handicap. Second place went to Yukimi Rabnot - again with a PB - in her 12th handicap, and the bronze went to Simon Coles - yes, another PB - in his 35th race.

Generally performances were below average, probably due to the chill, with only 8 other runners managing PBs - they were Ruth Jackson, Mark Palmer, Rosie Ingram, Abdi Dhuhulow, Ann Kinahan, Jennifer Mueller, Andrew Bolgar and Jennifier Bradley - so above average congratulations to you guys.

As we left it last month, the Tom Hogshead was led by Graham Carson on 179pts, Gordon Robertson on 161pts, and Abdi Dhuhlow and Tom Donovan on 152pts. The highest scoring lady was Marielle Vestlund on 141pts.

In today's race, Graham Carson's managed a credible 11th place scoring 21pts displacing a 16pts score to end up with an extra 5pts on 184pts. Gordon Robertson came nth, scoring 18pts which displaced 10pts giving an extra 8pts to be on 169pts. Abdi's 4s PB was enough to win maximum bonus points, but 9th place was not enough to beat Graham's 11th place (Abdi needed to finish another 4 places higher and for Graham to not score well to take first place). Abdi ended with 24pts to finish on 176pts against Graham's winning score of 179pts. So Graham wins the Hogshead, Abdi takes second, and Gordon takes third.

Special recognition should go to Abdi who only ran the minimum 8 races to claim second place (no displaced scores), and to Georgina McFadyen (167pts) who came 4th as fastest lady in the competition but only ran 7 races - if she had managed to get in one more handicap she would have taken third place from Gordon.

Thank you to everyone who helped today, and who has helped over the last year. The helpers today was: Amy Balchin, Claudio Belotti, Mark Braley, Stephen Cook, John Cullinane, Carrie Doyle, John dSouza, Malcolm French, Ron Hagel, Alan G Hall, Jon Knox, Sarah Knox, Stephen Laverty, Joanna Perry, Rachel Smyth, Anthony Stranger-Jones, Marielle Vestlund and Beate Vogt. Thank you all again, and merry christmas.

The next handicap will be using the same course and will take place on Saturday 3rd January, meeting at the boathouse on the Serpentine.

Serpentine Handicap (03 Jan 2009)

It was a busy race today with 83 runners, of whom eleven were first time runners (presumably making good on their new year's resolutions). It was frosty but not icy, and turned into a nice sunny day by the time the race was over and everyone was in the Dell.

Steve Turner improved again to knock 2 mins off his time from last April to cross the line first in his 22nd handicap. Ruth Jackson beat the personal best she set last month by 47s to take second place, and John d'Souza took almost a minute off his PB to take third place and break the 29min barrier by 2s.

As well as Ruth and John, PBs were also scored by: Simon Coles, Kevin McLellan, Mark Stuart, Alistair McColl, Rosalind Ramsay, Lisa Wray, Max O Kane, Gemma Greenwood, Sam Elder, Andy Sallnow, Gregor Bertram, Siobhan Reddy and James Mills. A hearty slap on the back to all of you.

PBs were generally scored by runners in their second scratch race; the point scoring runners today only had PBs 12% of the time. This is below average, and so indicates that conditions were pretty tough (it was damn cold at first).

The Tom Hogshead trophy now starts again for the 2009 series. Points are awarded for every race. It's 3-20pts for finishing (you need to be first to get 20pts), plus up to a 12pts bonus for your time relative to your previous personal best (get a PB, get 12pts). After today's race, Ruth Jackson takes the lead (31pts), John D'Souza is in second (30pts), and Simon Coles is in third (28pts). Why isn't Steve Turner first you might ask... well, it's because although Steve got 20pts for winning, his time for his PB was 4mins short, so he didn't get any bonus pts; Ruth, John and Simon all scored the max 12pts bonus. (Steve is nevertheless in the top 10, and will be very happy with his gold medal when he gets it next month).

A big thank you to everyone who helped to make the race happen today. We were almost overwhelmed by the first time runners today, so double thanks in fact go to: Mark Braley, Abdi Dhuhulow, Tom Donovan, Charity Finnigan, Malcolm French, Jon Knox, Rachel Smyth, James Skinner, Bev Thomas and Allison Weldon.

This is our last race from the boathouse, thank heavens. The next race will be on Saturday 7th February meeting at the Bandstand. See you there.

Serpentine Handicap (07 Feb 2009)

Hyde Park was pretty chilly this morning (-3C overnight) and we found a number of iced-over parts of paths which required extra care, and in the case of the Dell cafe area a small detour was required, adding 3-4m to the course (thanks to El Presidente for walking the course pre-race, and advising on changes). We had 77 registered to run, but due to extra marshaling needs, Carrie and Carsten gave up their places to help, so we ended with 75 runners.

The average time for runners was 40s down on last month, due mainly to the need to run gingerly and maybe weight of the extra layers. At the finish line it was Jane Harris who managed to come in first with a strong performance holding off Lars Menken's pants by 4s (by which we mean his heavy breathing, not his apparel). Jane is repeating her form of 2008 when she took medals in February and April, which she explains as being due to her marathon training. She promises to slow down after the London. The third place battle was between Alex Malzer and Jennifer Bradley. Jennifer pulled a PB, but it was not enough to catch Alex, so he ended up with the bronze. Gold, silver and bronze were of a "controversial" new "medal 2.0" design with a rotating serpie logo.

In fact, Jennifer's PB (worth 12pts bonus) was the only one in the top 10 - normally half the runners score PBs (illustrating how hard today was) - though Simon Coles, Monika Kiraly and Marielle Vestlund (6th, 7th, 8th) were only slightly off goal (and took 11pts bonus each). Monika also took "reddest legs" award.

There were 11 other PBs apart from Jennifer's, with about half of these from runners in their second scratch run (which normally happens as the course is familiar the second time). So congratulations go to: Kath Brady, Maggie Purr, Alistair McColl, Sam Elder, Gemma Greenwood, Philip Sloss, Sanjay Nandi, Gavin Burn, Michael Stainton, Derek Mullan and Robert Crangle. Well done.

In the Tom Hogshead, Ruth Jackson scored 10pts to take her to 41pts, but moved down the table from 1st place to joint 5th (with silver-place Lars Menken). Simon Coles's near-PB plus 6th place gave him another 26pts today which added to his 4th position 28pts of last month meant he came out on top with 54pts. Alex Malzer's bronze gave him 28pts today which with 20pts from his 10th place in January put him in second place, with Jennifer Bradley coming in as highest scoring woman jointly in 3rd position with Roger Coyle. The Tom Hogshead is an annual competition for handicap runners where the winner is the competitor to score most points from their 8 best races of the year, where points are earned for position (20pts for 1st, 19pts for 2nd...) and performance (12pts for a PB, 11pts for a near miss...).

Thanks to everyone who came out and stood in the cold to make today happen, namely: Mark Braley, Carsten Dannert, Carrie Doyle, Jon Knox, Sue Kwok, Lars Menken, Nicola Sanderson, Anthony Stranger-Jones, Helen Usborne and Hilary Walker.

The next handicap will be in four weeks on Saturday 7th March 2008, and hopefully will feature Gary Hymns in his 100th race and the newly V65 John Walker.

Serpentine Handicap (07 Mar 2009)

Exceptional turnout, and some minor administrative problems with numbers made this a challenging handicap for those of us not running in it!

Great win & over min pb by Lula, who had clear lead over second place.

Chris Notton and Steve Edwards just managed pbs to take second and third.

Special mention to Gary Hymns - ran his 100th handicap. Terrific.

Thx to: Sarah Bell, Mark Braley, Ashok Jamdagni, Jon Knox, Darren Over, Rachel Smyth, Anthony Stranger-Jones, Beate Voigt, John Walker.

Next race 4th April, featuring a more fulsome report than we have managed this month...

Serpentine Handicap (04 Apr 2009)

Today's race saw 81 serpies battle for medals over the handicap's 7k course.

In her last Serpentine handicap before returning to Australia, Kiera Davidson made a stunning exit by taking the gold with a series of superlatives: a 50s+ lead over the second place, a 50s+ PB, and a best ever personal age grading of over 70% (nearly 5% better than her previous best club performance). After the race, Kiera said all her training for the last 6 weeks had been for this race, and that she'd miss the race and us all when she leaves in a few weeks...

In fact the women dominated the race finish with second place silver going to Gemma Greenwood (PB), third place bronze to Carole Wisdom (PB) followed by Kathlene Brady (PB) and Deborah Russo. The men took the remaining 5 places of the top 10.

Other PBs were to Chris Notton, Roger Coyle, Simon Coles, Peter Bowles, Adrian Rosoga, Anne Bennett, Mohammed Ismail, Ian Cooper, Phoebe Collins, Kieran Scanlon, Robert Crangle, James Mills, Claire Strong, Amy Leavitt, Nick Mays, Joanna Perry, Kirsty Mansfield, Susie Symes. Well done all.

After the race, Jean-Luc Hoez was presented with a "100" t-shirt in recognition of completing his 100th handicap race. He's taken 15 years to reach this award having first run the handicap in April 1994. Well done.

In the Tom Hogshead, Simon Coles is holding on to the first position by his fingernails on 97pts, with Roger Coyle now snapping at his trainers on 96pts. Chris Notton (83pts) and Alex Malzer (80pts) follow with the highest placing lady being Kathleen Brady (79pts) in 5th.

Thanks to everyone who helped today, including Mark Braley, Ashok Jamdagni, Alan G Hall, Jon Knox, Alan G Hall, Poppy Lenton, Marielle Vestlund and Beate Vogt.

The next handicap will be on Saturday 2nd May.

Serpentine Handicap (02 May 2009)

Today's race saw 80 serpies battle for medals over the handicap's 7k course.

After last month’s all female podium, the men elbowed their way back in. Sid Wills produced a storming run, coming well ahead of the pack with one of his strongest ever age-graded performances. Current Hogshead leader, Simon Coles, tightened his grip with a strong second place – a nearly 40 second PB, while Mihai Comsulea also PB’d in third place.
We had a further 15 PBs: Peter Bowles, Anne Bennett, Mark (“fast as a leopard") Palmer, Amy Leavitt, Mohammed Ismail, Stephen Cook, Ann Kinahan, Gavin Burn, Eddie Brocklesby, Kieran Scanlon, Peter Tallboys, Joanna Perry, Philip Black, Susie Symes and Phil Kelvin. Well done all.

In the Tom Hogshead, Simon Coles has put some clear blue water behind him at 128 points from 5 races, ahead of Roger Coyle on 110 and Chris Notton on 96. Jennifer Bradley is now our highest placed lady on 83 points. Simon’s point tally – at 26 per race – is very strong for this “early” in the year – but remember runners can only score from their best 8 races – so those further back, who have run fewer races and / or have some lower scores to “knock out”, can still add a lot of points.
Minor stats point: when Ros Young crossed the line this month, she was our 15700th finisher in the history of the handicap. We may offer a special prize for our 20000th finisher, who at recent rates should cross the line in about 4 years’ time.

Thanks to everyone who helped today, including Nicola Barberis Negra, Claudio Belotti, Kathleen Brady, Mark Braley, Jon Knox, Lula Rosso, Claire Strong, Rachel Smyth and Erin Walker.
The next handicap will be on Saturday 6th June.

Serpentine Handicap (06 Jun 2009)

Light rain provided a cool comfortable run for the 85 runners in today's handicap.

Poppy Lenton took gold by a 90s margin over second place Peter Kinahan, followed by Val Metcalf in third. Poppy was the "corner marshals' favourite" after just 100m as she was obviously running very strongly, and kept this up for the entire PB-scoring race, down mainly to the last 10 months of training since her last handicap. Peter's 20s -ve split and PB gave him a comfortable silver, and Val's bronze though not a PB was her first sub-30m handicap for 2 years.

Simon Coles and Roger Coyle - the Hogshead one-two leaders before the race - took comfortable 4th and less-comfortable 5th just outside the medals both scoring PBs. Other runners setting PBs were: David Hinds, Ann Kinahan, Angus Searcy, James Mills, Catharine Sowerby, Stephen Cook, Andy Robbins, Susie Symes, Sanjay Nandi, Helene Johansson, Gavin Essex and Phillip Black. A special well done to you all.

In the Tom Hogshead competition, Simon has increased his security at the top of the table. A PB of 26s after 40+ handicaps is a remarkable margin, and taking 4th at this stage is optimal as he is not incurring any top-3 place-weighting on his start time, yet is scoring the maximum 17pts for place and 12pts for PB for a non-medallist. Simon (now 157pts) only increased his margin over Roger Coyle in second place from +18pts to +19pts however as Roger (now 138pts) was seconds behind in 5th place today and also set a PB. After today's race, 3rd 4th and 5th are Steve Edwards (107pts), Alex Malzer (103pts) and Peter Bowles (102pts) - however Steve and Peter are claiming 3rd and 5th having run only 5 races so far - others in the top 5 have have run all races this year.

Thanks to all of those who turned up and helped today: Nicola Barberis, Mark Braley, Tom Donovan, John D'Souza, Ian Hodge, Sally Mackay, Jon Knox, Baiju McCubbins, Anthony Stranger Jones, Marielle Vestlund and (inadvertently) Lula Rosso (who turned up too late to register but very public-spiritedly stayed to help marshal).

The next "star-spangled" race will be on Saturday 4th July - registration opens 8:15am but don't "yankee-dawdle" as race entry closes promptly at 8:55am.

Serpentine Handicap (04 Jul 2009)

The hottest handicap of the year saw 83 runners register, and 81 complete the July handicap. The hot weather and a prepoderance of small yet noisy dogs created a challenging race for all of the finishers.

Adrian Rosoga romped home by a 12s margin with a 36s PB to take gold. Second and third places were separated by 2s - with Manuel Moreno taking silver in his 63rd race and Steve Edwards taking bronze in his 65th race.

Personal bests were few and far between - Adrian and Steve took their medals with PBs, the others were David Hinds (4th), Andrew Taylor, Sanjay Nandi, Philip Black, Nicola Barberis Negra, Angie Palin, Graeme Young, Eda Korkmaz, Andrew MacIntosh, Alexander Percival and Emma Sullivan. Well done all.

In the Tom Hogshead, the previous 1-2-3 was Simon Coles (157pts), Roger Coyle (138pts) and Steve Edwards (107pts). This order remains the same as Simon and Roger did not run, but Steve's bronze PB adds an extra +30pts to take him to 137pts, just 1pt behind Roger. David Hind's PB moves him up from 9th to 4th, and Jennifer Bradley's 12th place today raises her to first lady in the Hogshead from 7th to 5th. The Tom Hogshead trophy is awarded at the end of the year to the serpie scoring the most points from their best 8 handicap races over the year; points are awarded for place and for performance against personal best.

Thanks to all who helped to make today's race possible: Mark Braley, Carrie Doyle, Jeremy Freer, Malcolm French, Gemma Greenwood, Jon Knox, Poppy Lenton, John d'Souza, Anthony Stranger Jones and Ros Young.

The next race will be on Saturday 1st August.

Serpentine Handicap (01 Aug 2009)

John Walker joined us to officiate in today's handicap which saw the first ever double "100 handicaps" being acheived.

First, the race results: a vastly improved Paula Lueshing romped home with a 6min PB to take gold, followed by a clear silver place win by Peter Kinahan (with a 1.5 mins PB). Sarah Knox fought bravely to catch Ian Hall. However her 45s PB wasn't enough, and Ian took the bronze in his ninety-fifth handicap.

In addition to Paula, Peter and Sarah, personal bests were also recorded for: David Hinds, Mark Stewart, Mark Palmer, Claire Strong, Gemma Greenwood, Philip Black, Eda Korkmaz, Olukemi Yusuph, Emma Sullivan, Christophe Borysiewicz, Helen White, David Hill, Nick Eley, Ruthie Birger, Ruth Lythe and Victoria O'Sullivan.

Following the medals, John Walker presented "100 Handicaps" t-shirts to two runners. Brian Harris only ran his first handicap less than 10 years ago in November 1999, and has managed to attend almost every race since. In his first race, he managed an 66.8% age graded performance; today he completed the course in a slightly improved age-graded 68.7% finishing 24th. Ken Kwok has been running the handicap on and off since its second race in October 1992. In that race he completed the course at an 8:38 pace (56% A/G); today, 17 years later, he completed his 100th handicap at 8:39 (66% A/G) pace - just a second slower over a longer course. Well done both of you gentlemen.

In the Tom Hogshead championship, we have now reached the 8th race. However, of the top 5 positions, only one runner has made all races this year. The eighth race is significant because the winner of the TH trophy is the runner with the best 8 races of the year. Simon Coles took 21pts today from a solid 11th place in his 7th race of the year - he stands at the head of the table on 178pts. David Hinds took 5th place in the race today, and set a personal best - this gave him 28pts which has pushed him up into second place with 148pts. Neither Roger Coyle nor Steve Edwards ran today, so they keep 138pts and 137pts respectively but move down a place each because of Hinds' ascendancy. Jennifer Bradley is the leading lady in the table on 125pts in 5th place. She is also the highest placed person to have run all races this year. The runner with the most points after December's race gets to take home the Tom Hogshead trophy from the Serpentine Christmas Party.

Thanks to everyone who made today's race possible: Mark Braley, Jeremy Freer, Malcolm French, Gemma Greenwood, Phil Kelvin, Susan Kennedy, Jon Knox, Poppy Lenton, Lula Rosso, Maeve Rutt, Anthony Stranger Jones, John Walker, Claire Waller and the bloke with the long face prancing around the Lido.

The next race is scheduled for the 5th September.

Serpentine Handicap (05 Sep 2009)

Today's handicap was under threat of being re-routed due to an avian statue erection process over-running, however in the nick of time RP horticulturalists occupying the far side path completed their shrubbing and laid the way clear for the September handicap. To counterbalance this luck, a large section of the near side path was closed and boarded up. Fortunately we were able to run a standard-distance standardroute handicap with the help of a marshall at the duck (egging on runners), and two at the boathouse (led by our unflappable president).

So a clear course, chilly in the shadows but generally sunny and dry was the setting. 69 runners completed the race, and there were a several drama filled moments.

Lula Rosso crossed the line first with a 51s PB in her 34th handicap; according to the serpie website this, at 63%, is her lifetime best age graded performance in 71 road races since she joined in 2005. Ian Hall managed a spirited run to take the silver. It looked like Bob Davidson might take the bronze at first - but he blew-up about 5 metres from the line and had to slow to a crawl to catch his breath. Sharon Lindores had enough head on the following pack to take a comfortable bronze.

The fourth place saw the real drama: a restarted Bob made for the line hunted down by Adrian Rosoga and Manuel Moreno. Manuel looked like he was about to take 4th, but perhaps inspired by the duck (or more likely from uneven ground) he literally flew at the line. He landed tantalizing close about 1m short, and Adrian (running an 11s PB) closely followed by Bob (running his fastest time of the year) instead took 4th and 5th. Manuel managed to compose himself and scraped (literally, unfortunately) home 6th pushing Philip Black (who was charging ahead with a 30s+ PB) and Graham Carson (with a 6s PB) into 7th and 8th places. Mr Davidson lay exhausted on the floor after the line, and needed to be helped away by four young ladies, which we are relieved to say led him to recover to his normal self very soon.

Further down the field, Robert Crangle (13th), Gemma Greenwood (14th), Andrew "Turner" Taylor (21st), Victoria O'Sullivan (23rd), Alexander Percival (32nd), Jol Attwooll (33rd), David Gill (41st), Alex Darbyshire (43rd) and scratch runners Fiona Strouts and Nyla Hussain scored Personal Bests too - congratulations all.

In the Tom Hogshead trophy race, Simon Coles' nearest competitor David Hinds was injured and helped to marshal on his crutches. Simon managed to score a respectable 16pts today (15th=6pts, plus 10pt bonus for coming under 30s from his target PB). Needless to say, Simon now holds a commanding lead at 194pts against David's 148pts and Roger Coyle's 138 pts. Steve Edwards is close behind on 137pts. Simon however now has run 8 races, so can only improve his score incrementally by bettering and discarding earlier results in his next 3 races; by comparison David Hinds has only run 7 races, and Roger Coyle and Steve Edwards (neither of whom ran today) have only run 6 races. Jennifer Bradley, the highest placed lady in the Hogshead in 5th extended her score to 133pts by an 11th place (10+10pts) and along with John Hudspith are the runners who have run all handicaps in 2009. The Hogshead trophy is traditionally awarded at the Serpie Xmas Party to the runner scoring the most points in their 8 best handicaps.

There were lots of helpers today - we needed them. Many I managed to remember at the medal giving, some I omitted - so, our fully appreciation goes to... James Adams, Kathleen Brady, Kiera Davidson, James Edgar, Gemma Greenwood, David Hinds, Poppy Lenton, Paula Lueshing, Raoul Mansukhani, Nicole Sanderson, Stephane Schneider, John d'Souza, Anthony Stranger Jones, Bev Thomas and Hilary Walker.

The next race will be on Saturday 3rd October.

Jon Knox

Serpentine Handicap (03 Oct 2009)

The leaves are falling, the nights lengthening, arguments over central heating are beginning and Saturday saw the October edition of the Handicap.

Anne Bennett took gold in her 9th race, and knocked a minute off her PB, Ellen Fragaszy took silver, also with a PB, while Peter Bowles completed the (methaphorical) medal podium in bronze, again with a PB (matching his own initials). Conditions, while a bit blustery, obviously suited faster times as PBs were also achieved by Jolyon Attwooll, Giles Balleny, Paula Lueshing, Robert Crangle, Marielle Vestlund, Gemma Greenwood, Andrew Reeves, Gavin Burn, Derek Mullan, Alexander Percival, Angela Green, Lord Tuda, Nati Hudspith, Patrizia Victor, Lee Wilkinson, Paul Malloy, Catherine Higgs, Jane Jenkinson and Helen Peterkin, to make 22 PBs in all, from a field of 89 runners. Kathyrn Radzik, running scratch, set a new fastest time for the year for a lady in 27.20 - in fact the fastest time by a lady since 2005.

Simon Coles remains well ahead in the Tom Hogshead table, on 194 points, although he did not add to his tally this month - his October score of 13 points was below the prior eight best months, and, remember, only the best eight count. David Hinds (159 pts) and Roger Coyle (146 pts), both scoring modestly this month, closed the gap a little. With two races left, there are a maximum 64 points left, so it's not over yet, albeit that dropping low scoring races means neither David nor Roger can actually add 64 points. To save you all "doing the math", those who can still, on paper, catch Simon are: David Hinds (max possible 202), Roger Coyle (202), Steve Edwards (201) and Peter Bowles (196). Of course you actually need to catch him on tarmac. Overall 2nd and 3rd for the year are still very much up for grabs, with all the above, plus Jennifer Bradley and Ann Kinahan, being in with a shout.

Thanks to all the helpers this month: James Adams, Sarah Bell, Mark Braley, Keira Davidson, John Dsouza, Gemma Greenwood (helping and running), Phil Kelvin, Jon Knox, Lisa Petit, Nicola Sanderson, Anthony Stranger-Jones, Bev Thomas, Helen Usborne, Beate Vogt. If we've omitted anyone, many apologies.

IMPORTANT - next month's race - 7th November - will be on an altered course due to the Winter Wonderland entertainments in the park. Registration details will be confirmed in due course, but will NOT be at the bandstand.

Serpentine Handicap (05 Dec 2009)

In today's race we saw PBs for the first 3 places, with Thomas Levitt knocking a massive 2.5 mins off his PB to take gold in his 6th race - well done. Comfortable second and third places were taken by Stephane Schneider (shaving 6s off his PB), and John Hudspith (shaving 5s off his). Well done gentlemen. Top marks for a spirited run by Sharon Lindores who could not close up the 7s gap to challenge John.

Last month John Hudspith and Jennifer Bradley were the only runners to have completed every month's handicap, however this month John's alarm clock ruled supreme - he is the only runner to have completed every race this year, well done again John, and a tsk-tsk to Jennifer's duvet.

Other PBs today were by Gavin Essex, Ann Kinahan, Victoria O'Sullivan, Paula Lueshing, Anne Bennett, Nati Hudspith, William Leavitt, Christophe Borysiewicz, Richard Kingsbury, and Mark Smith. Congratulations all of you.

In the Tom Hogshead 2009 competition, last month's 1-2-3 of Simon Coles, David Hinds and Peter Bowles remains in force as no one scored enough points today to beat any of their earlier 8 race scores. Previous 4th place Roger Coyle (on 146pts) was unable to run today, and both Ann Kinahan and Gemma Greenwood made attempts to push him down the table. Ann added 12pts to her score (scoring 26pts today, displacing a previous 14pts) to take 4th, and Gemma completed her 8th race with 13pts to reach 142pts missing out on 5th place and having to take 6th. So the top spot went to Simon Coles with a substantial 194pts victory over David and Peter on 163pts and 160pts respectively. Simon accepted his award after the race.

Thanks to everyone who helped today: Gemma Greenwood, Lisa Pettit, Rachel Smyth, Poppy Lenton, AS Jones, James Edgar, Alan Hall, John d'Souza, Alan Hall, Bev Thomas, Beate Vogt, Nicola Barberis, Laura Denness, Susie Symes, Phillip Black, Marielle Vestlund, Mme Laurence, Victoria Carrington, Anne Morris, Nyla Hussain and Ann Kinahan.

There was Braley cake at the end.

Finally, a big thank you to every who helped this year from me and Mark, and have a good Christmas. Next month we hope to begin the handover to the new team - more information soon!

(By the way... sorry, we managed to send out the results wrong first time today. Everyone got the person-behind-them's finish time - we should have realised there was something amiss when the computer threw up a 'David McGregor error'. Anyway, we've fixed this now and the bad news is that you all finished in exactly the same order we told you in the text message, but the good news is of course that you all did better than we originally told you too - sometimes by only a fraction of a second, but always better.)

Serpentine Handicap (02 Jan 2010)

The first handicap of the year saw 71 runners brave the chilly yet refreshing conditions of the park for Jon and Mark's last handicap.

Kemi Yusuph had used her five months away from the handicap to shed pounds, build speed and purchase a natty pair of gloves that she wore on her feet. Whatever, she managed to knock over 3 mins off her last PB to take a spectacular gold which left the other runners almost 2 mins behind. Second was Peter Kinahan (watched by proto-handicapper mum Ann) who took silver with a 17s PB, followed four seconds later by Ken Kwok showing that he can still take the medals despite picking up his 100 handicap shirts only a couple of months ago. New silverware for the winners was presented consisting of a cup for the winner and in theory medals for second and third (due to a printing error Ken had to accept a piece of bronze wrapped chocolate - this was amended the following month).

Other PBs today were a suspiciously relaxed fourth place by Crangle, an almost fractional 2s PB by Lescott, 20s by Lueshing, a sturdy 80s+ by Higgs, a healthy 17s by Borysiewicz, a 30s+ from Kormaz, and a respectable 34s by Cenni. Scratch runner PBs included Sarah Edmunds returning after 7 years away, and Nick Purser and Fiona Mcrae in their second scratches.

Ian Hall, who ran his first handicap 16 years ago, collected his 100 shirt at today's race and made a moving speech about the fraternal nature of the handicap. Congratulations Ian, and we look forward to seeing your get your 200th.

It's a new year, so a new Tom Hogshead competition. Today's winner
tops the table with a maximum 32pts (20pts for the race, and a maximum
12pts for the stunning PB). Maximum bonuses of 12pt for Peter Kinahan,
Robert Crangle (4th) and Gemma Greenwood (5th) give them the 2-3-4
positions at this earliest of stages.

Today's helpers included Victoria Carrington, Ann Kinahan, Anne Morris who will be part of the team taking over from us (Jon and Mark) next month. We wish them all the best and both of us hope to run later or sooner (respectively) in the handicap in the future as civvies.

Jon thanked everyone who had helped to make the handicap work over the 3 years that Jon+Mark & initially Andy have been the team. These helpers have included: Abdi Dhuhulow, Alan G Hall, Alan Hall, Allison Weldon, Ann Kinahan, Anne Morris, Anthony Stranger-Jones, Ashok Jamdagni, Baiju McCubbins, Beate Vogt, Bev Thomas, Carrie Doyle, Carsten Dannert, Charity Finnigan, Claire Strong, Claire Waller, Claudio Belotti, Darren Over, David Hinds, Dobbin, Erin Walker, Gemma Greenwood, Helen Usborne, Hilary Walker, Ian Hodge, Jamdagnies Edgar, James Adams, James Edgar, James Skinner, Jeremy Freer, John Walker, John d'Souza, Jon Knox, Kathleen Brady, Kiera Davidson, Lars Menken, Laura Denness, Lisa Pettit, Lula Rosso, Maeve Rutt, Malcolm French, Marielle Vestlund, Mark Braley, Mme Laurence, Nicola Barberis Negra, Nicola Sanderson, Nyla Hussain, Paula Lueshing, Phil Kelvin, Phillip Black, Poppy Lenton, Rachel Smyth, Raoul Mansukhani, Ros Young, Sally Mackay, Sarah Bell, Stephane Schneider, Sue Kwok, Susan Kennedy, Susie Symes, Tom Donovan, and Victoria Carrington. Thank you to all of you for standing in the cold/heat/rain/snow to make the race happen.

The next race was held on the 6th February.

Serpentine Handicap (06 Feb 2010)

Almost perfect running conditions, still steady new year resolutions, the thought of laughing at the new Handicap team, and knowing that two great athletes were due to collect their "100th T Shirts" conspired to make this the second most heavily subscribed Handicap ever. 97 runners queued patiently while the new Handicap team puzzled over scratch runner times and the like and then eventually set off in equally good spirits with the new team clicking watches and shouting names and Jon Knox patiently saying "It might work better next time if you do it like this."

Ros Young was our winner in a net time of 39.50, doubly exciting since she was also one of the winners of the "100th T shirts"; Paula Lueshing was a creditable second in 46.28 (a PB); while Rob Crangle trotted over the line to take third place in 30.16 (Don't worry, Rob, no comments at this stage!)

Once the BBC reporter had interviewed Ros Young and Jan Farmer (our other 100th T shirt winner) to try to understand their motivation for continuing to push those boundaries; and had listened carefully to Eddie Brocklesby, age 66, explaining her iron man challenge last September, and then asked her if she would describe herself as 'normal' (I didn't catch the answer) we were able to give out the medals and present those T shirts to Ros and Jan. Jan said how important her Serpentine friends had become, equal to those she had made at university; and Ros stunned us all by reminding us that she had won the race three times during her one hundred runs, each in a different decade! Following that we found the champagne, fruit cake and other goodies very welcome.

Please also note that Jon Knox' report for the January 2010 handicap can be found at

Serpentine Handicap (06 Mar 2010)

A field of 78 runners took part in the March Handicap. William Simpson might not have realised he was our winner in a net time of 31.04 minutes, with several scratch runners crossing the line before him, so many congratulations. Congratulations too to Alessandro Poggi for achieving a PB to earn his second place in a net time of 25.21 and to Brian Harris for third place in 35.53. There were a total of 18 PB's this month with those of Michael Woodcock and Fiona Macrae being particularly worthy of praise, and suggesting a great deal of inter race training.

The Tom Hogshead table is currently headed up by Rob Crangle (85 points); Stephanie Schneider (75 points); and Charles Lescott (66 points). Ros Young (on 26 points) closely followed by Jan Farmer (25 points) is leading in the Kinahan Challenge Cup, which will go to the highest placed FV50. Everything still to play for!

Thank you to everyone who took part, and particularly to this month's helpers, who included Phil Kelvin, Sarah Bell and Abdi Dhuhulow.

The Handicap Team

Serpentine Handicap (03 Apr 2010)

The April handicap was held today on a beautiful spring morning. This was particularly surprising and welcome considering the torrential downpours that everyone woke up to. 63 runners participated in the race and were cheered on by an unusually large number of marshalls and supportive club members out for a stroll. Peter Bowles came first knocking a minute off his target personal best for the handicap. Nicola Barberis Negra and James Mills placed second and third respectively. Unfortunately due to a slight technical hitch (of forgotten medals...) the winners were each rewarded with Cadbury's creme eggs! These will be replaced with the official cups and medals in the award ceremony at the end of the May handicap.

Thank you to everyone who participated, helped marshall and turned up to cheer. We look forward to seeing you all on Saturday May 1st.

Serpentine Handicap (01 May 2010)

The May handicap race went off well today with 76 runners and numerous volunteers and cheering squad. Thank you so much to everyone who ran and supported.

The winner of this month's Handicap was Claire Strong taking almost a minute off her target personal best. She was closely followed in second and third place by William Simpson and Jan Farmer. Congratulations to you all.

This month there were noticeably more members of the public on the course, providing fun obstacles to jump over and avoid. Most amusing was the group of fifty plus school children who decided to descend on the public lavatories by the finish line just as the majority of the pack were completing their sprint finish! I hope the runners appreciated the extra large welcome committee of bemused teenagers who cheered them in!

Just a friendly reminder for June - please wear your Serpie tops next month. This is for two crucial reasons. 1.It helps the marshalls identify you to record your times accurately. 2. It helps your fellow runners behind you to know who their next target to overtake is! Thanks for your co-operation with this.

See you all on June 5th.

Serpentine Handicap (05 Jun 2010)

'Despite promises by the Met Office that this Saturday would be the hottest of the year, 85 die-hards nonetheless turned up for registration and set off cheerfully for their two laps round the Serpentine. The heat was very significant and runners did very well to complete. Amazingly, there were still 12 PBs.

Congratulations to these 12 and particular congratulations to James Mills, first with a net time of 28.44 scoring the maximum 32 points; Jean-Luc Hoez , second with a net time of 29.15 and 31 points; and Patrizia Victor, 3rd with a net time of 34.02 and 30 points.

The Tom Hogshead table is looking like something of a closer race now with only nine points between the leader, Rob Crangle, and William Simpson; and James Mills just three points behind that, James having run the same number of races as Rob.

For the womens vets 50 plus championship, Jan Farmer leads the way with 78 points and Gillian McCabe, second at the moment. With six more races, there is still plenty to play for here so we do hope all our talented women vets will come along and have a go - it was just lovely to see so many of you this time.

Thank you to all our helpers - the most we have had since January and we were very pleased to be able to celebrate a special birthday with one of them, Ron Hagell. Many Happy Returns, Ron.

Please let us know if you have helped with the Handicap this year and we have not recorded your name in the helper list( . We have no names down for April or May and may have missed others in the preceding months too.

Serpentine Handicap (03 Jul 2010)

100 starters and 99 finishers made for a challenging July Handicap and an interesting experience for the 25 scratch runners.

First place went to James Edgar with a 20 second PB very closely followed by Gavin Burn with a massive 40 second PB (someone has been doing some training). Congratulations too to Darren Over in third.

Well done for their PB's too to Andrew Taylor, Andrew Henderson, Kirsty Mansfield, James Mills, Izzie Cartwright, Sanjay Nandi, Teresa Gaillard De Laubenque, Nati Hudspith, Sebi Hudspith, Shelley Black, Richella Doyle and Beate Vogt.

The Tom Hogshead competition is hotting up with James Mills moving into first place on 140 points, William Simpson in second place just nudging past Rob Crangle.

The Womans 50+ Competition is still being led by Jan Farmer on 78 pts with Beate Vogt now in second place on 43.

Serpentine Handicap (07 Aug 2010)

65 runners completed the August Handicap with an exciting all female podium. Congratulations to Marianne Morris on her second handicap win (as she said, her first win was at the age of 50, this at the age of 60 so she expects to win again at 70!), to Jennifer Bradley on coming second with a 32 second PB, and to Baiju McCubbins on her third place.

PB's were also achieved this month by David Hinds, Sebi Hudspith (again!), Philip Cuypers, Victoria Osullivan, Nick Fairclough, Teresa Gaillard De Laubenque (again!), Michael Woodcock, Gaetan Ellie and Beate Vogt (also again!)

Tom Hogshead Competition is now extremely close at the top with only 7 points separating the top 3, William Simpson, Catherine Higgs and James Mills.

For the womens 50+ Challenge Cup the top 3 places are also becoming hotly contested with Jan Farmer continuing to lead with 91, Baiju McCubbins now leaping up to second place with 66 pts and Beate Vogt on 58.

From the September race a new rule will operate in that the £1 entrance fee will no longer apply and entry will be free. We will still be charging the £1 fee for the race numbers.

Thank you to everyone who helped with the August race. Your support was very much appreciated.

Victoria, Anne, Nyla and Ann xx

Serpentine Handicap (04 Sep 2010)

In near perfect race conditions, the 63 runners of the September handicap set off, led by Bev Thomas. Although unconfirmed at this stage, it is believed that Huw Lobb is to be congratulated for setting a new course record of 22 minutes 24 seconds, the fastest time since the course was altered in 2002.

Many congratulations to the winner of the race, Richard Smith, to Gordon Robertson second and to Giles Heywood in third place with a PB, one of 12.

These results make for an exciting situation in the Tom Hogshead with only ten points between the current top three places (James Mills currently in the lead) and only 19 points between the top six (Come on Catherine, it would be great to have woman up there!)

Special mention must go too to Beate Voigt for yet another PB (the third in a row) which puts her back in second position in the womens V50 challenge cup, ahead of Baiju McCubbins. Jan Farmer still leads this section, by just 18 points.

Serpentine Handicap (02 Oct 2010)

Many congratulations to the 11 runners who achieved PBs in this race, 10 of whom took places 1 to 10. Congratulations too, to Anne Bennett (first); Nati Hudspith (second) and Alex Malzer (third).

The Tom Hogshead table now sees James Mills first on 173, Stephane Schneider second on 171 with one race in hand; Giles Heywood hird on 158 and Rob Crangle in fourth on 156 with two races in hand.

In the women's over 50 challenge cup Jan Farmer leads with 104 points; Beate Vogt in second on 73 points from five races and Baiju McCubbins in third on 66 points from five races.

Well done to everyone involved. Just two more to go in the season. Very exciting!

Serpentine Handicap (06 Nov 2010)

It was JK Rowling who said: "Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain."

So from the moment Nyla triumphantly pulled from her rucksack the new laptop , the mastermind behind the smooth running of the Handicap, we should have known we were in for a rocky ride.

As long suffering runners queued to register on Saturday morning, doing their best with remembering name, number and 10k times, the laptop began issuing fictitious numbers and times and chuckling to itself as the Handicap Team realised that said numbers, if pinned to said race entrants, would have the Tom Hogshead in upheaval for decades to come.

Luckily, some of our team are a match for the new laptop and, quick as a fairly slow flash, were able to issue numbers that the laptop had not yet heard of and in the end everyone was able to cross the start line with something pinned to their chest.

That did not stop the Handicap Team sharing some anxious moments about how credible race results might be sent to racers mobiles after the event. Thankfully, by some miracle, the great Ian Hodge was on hand in the Serpentine Cafe to save the day and to give the laptop a good telling off - hence, hopefully, you have a reasonably credible result in the above table.

Laptop issues aside, many congratulations go to this month's winner, Keith Morris, who last won the race ten years ago, Keira Davidson, second, and Peter Tallboys, third on a PB.

The Tom Hogshead, with only one month to go, sees Stephane Schneider in the lead on 187 (8 races); James Mills just behind on 186 (also 8 races); Rob Crangle in third on 178 (7 races); Alex Malzer in fourth on 160 (8 races); and Giles Heywood in fifth on 158 (8 races). Catherine Higgs is currently 8th on 142 (8 races) and Anne Bennett is one to watch, currently in 10th place on 128 but with a race still in hand.

Re the women’s vet (50 plus) challenge cup, Jan Farmer still has the lead on 110, with Beata Vogt in second place on 82 (six races) and Baiju McCubbins in third place on 76 (six races).

Good luck to everyone in the December race. Registration for this will be at the Boat House further up the Serptentine Lake to avoid the Winter Wonderland.

Serpentine Handicap (11 Dec 2010)

Postponed by a week due to the snowy weather, which seems to have brought the whole country to a halt, 63 runners braved their last handicap race of the year in the chilly December winds. The race finished without any glitches, a relief after the fiasco of the technical [human] error last month, with the help of our volunteers ready and waiting for the start of the race. [Almost without glitches… someone managed to forget this months medals on a boat again!]

This month the race took a slightly different course to the regular route, starting by the boathouse halfway up the lake to avoid the Winter Wonderland.

Tension was evident at the start line with James Mills and Alex Malzer both with a chance of winning the Hogshead 2010 started at the same time as Stephane Schneider also in with a chance of winning waited in anticipation for his name to be called sprinting off and managing to overtake both of them in the second lap.

While half way recorders clicked away at the stopwatches, the race seemed to go smoothly, even the low flying geese along the race path did not distract the focused runners, as they threw their extra layers at the baggage area and sprint off to finish their last lap. The new runner Jack Dugdale kept up with Jolyon Attwooll at the half way point.

There were a few hairy moments at the dell corner where the hustle and bustle of the winter wonderland was seeping onto our race route forming a pinchpoint for runners. But the marshals did a great job keeping a clear path for the runners!

It was an eventful finish, not only did we have a great finish by everyone especially the winners of the Tom Hogshead and the December winners, we also had a last minute arrival to start the race as the last runner crossed the finish line….

The december’s winner was Sue-Ellen Horrocks, who last won the handicap race 10 years ago! Kiera Davidson came second 2 months in a row, and Tom Davidson in third position with a PB. Congratulation!

Today was the last race of the year and consequently, we can reveal the new Hogshead Champion. This year after running a great performance throughout the year, we have joint winners of the Tom Hogshead competition. Stephane Schneider ran a PB today coming 4th while James Mills also ran a PB with a sprint finish putting him in 6th place, leading to both James and Stephane getting 200 points making them the first joint winners of the Tom Hogshead since it started in 1983! The runner up of the 2010 competition, Alex Malzer, who also ran PB and came 5th in the race ending up with 185 points making him the runner up for Hogshead 2010.

Congratulations to Jan Farmer who wins the women’s vet 50 + challenge cup 2010 with 110 points despite not racing in the december race.

Well done to the Shelley Black, Gavin Burn, Neil Bradshaw, Chris Wilson, Rob Kennedy, Anne Dixey, Andrew Buurman, Samantha Ludlow, Andrew Roberts and Chris Spearings for achieving PB in the last race of the year.

Mulled wine served to the helpers before heading to the café to warm up..

The January Race will start at the same place as December to avoid the winter wonderland.

Serpentine Handicap (08 Jan 2011)

98 starters, including 34 scratch, full of new year resolve, set out on the first of the 2011 Handicaps. An accident before the start meant that runners had to hang around in wind and rain while the race was delayed for 30 minutes. Once the "all clear" was given and, of course, the sun came out, our runners showed that they meant business. Despite the wind, we witnessed 14 PB's, pretty special after all that Christmas fare. Particular congratulations to Catherine Sowerby (first with a PB), Keith Evans (second on the 25th anniversary week of taking up Serpie membership) and Stephanie Wyman (third with a PB).

The Handicap Team were particularly grateful this month for the marshalls who gave their time. As they say on the Underground, planned engineering works meant that the team expected to be a man down. But they had not planned for Nyla also being out with a leg injury laid up in plaster in Bristol. Thank you to all who helped so cheerfully without the equipment, marshalls jackets, for instance, that Nyla would normally have brought with her. The short supply of safety pins required particularly constructive thought.

The after-race award ceremony included confirmation that the 2010 Tom Hogshead had been won jointly by James Mills and Stephane Schneider, both on 200 points with Alex Malzer just behind on 180. This was the first time in the race's history that the competition had ended in a tie. It might also be of interest that Stephane had run all his races in his Vibram Five Fingers. Many congratulations to these three, particularly with the difficulties created by the postponement of the December race.

The Kinahan Challenge Competition (for women participants 50 plus) was won by Jan Farmer on 110 points. In second place Beate Vogt on 82 and in third place, Baiju McCubbins on 76 points. Many congratulations to these and all the V50 women to participated in the Handicap in 2010. Could we see even greater things from this group in 2011? If you know of anyone who might qualify, do please encourage them to take part.

Finally, a mention that we have a women's scarf left at the December race. If this might be yours, do please e mail us at

Happy running for 2011!

Serpentine Handicap (05 Feb 2011)

Exactly 100 runners registered for the February 2011 Handicap, with 99 crossing the starting line and 98 finishing - the dimiinshing numbers reminiscent perhaps of an Agatha Christy thriller? We were pleased to welcome the 24 scratch runners who joined the race.

The Handicap Team were sorry to make runners hang around for the start in that rather chilly wind - delay due only to most people arriving in the last 20 minutes before registration closed. Hopefully, with the longer days, participants will feel more like arriving by 8.30 to make sure we can start the race much closer to 9 am.

Sadly two runners turned up this week without their Serpentine tops. They had to join the scratch runners and lost the chance of the place score.

Many congratulations to Michael Stainton, first, Claire Strong, second, Kiera Davidson, third, and Stephanie Wyman, fourth all with PB's. In total there were 23 PB's, very impressive for so early in the year. The Tom Hogshead therefore has new names at the top with Michael, Claire and Stephanie currently holding the top three places.

Leading the Kinahan Challenge (for women 50 plus) is Eddie Brocklesby on 27 points. Do please tell anyone you know in this age group to come and join us.

Finally, all race participants were very pleased indeed to welcome back Bob Davidson after he was forced to leave the party last month in a vehicle with a blue flashing light.

Serpentine Handicap (05 Mar 2011)

There was an exceptional turnout this month with 97 runners crossing the finish line and 13 new runners trying it out for the first time. The race went smoothly despite a small glitch at the start line when a couple of runners were nowhere to be found!

Congratulations to Rita Courtney who was the winner of the race with a PB time. In second place was Peter Kinahan and third place Shelley Black, both also achieving their PB’s. This month we had a total of 24 PBs.

We were please to welcome back Brian Harris after a year off from racing and Jon Knox after more than 4 year break due to injury.

Shelley Black is currently leading the Tom Hogshead competition followed closely by Robert Crangle and Stephanie Wyman.

Thanks to the volunteers who helped stage the race –Anthony Stranger-Jones, John Dsouza, Baiju McCubbins, Bev Thomas, Michael Stainton, Izzie Cartwright and Kiera Davidson.

Next race is scheduled to take place on Saturday 2 April.

Serpentine Handicap (02 Apr 2011)

The 104 runners registering, and 102 completing, meant we had the largest handicap field since its inception.

Despite this the race ran smoothly with a hotly contested first place narrowly won by Keith Evans, sliding in 2 seconds behind was Phil Harris closely followed by Lars Menken.

Congratulations to the 17 People who achieved PB's.

The Tom Hogshead is led by Rob Crangle on a comfortable 102, now followed by Shelly Black (89) and Stephanie Wyman (85).
The Kinahan Challenge Cup is led by Beate Vogt on 52, then Eddie Brocklesby (42) and Jan Farmer (29). Plenty of time for these positions to change and for others to take up the "over 50's" challenge!

Serpentine Handicap (07 May 2011)

Twelve PB's from 97 runners, all registered on time - thank you to everyone for being prompt (only five disappointed runners missing registration this month - the excuse we enjoyed the most was "stuck to the sheets"). A big thank you to our "help" team too - what a great team! We clearly have the right people for the job now and look forwrd to working with you if at all possible throughout the rest of the year. Our congratulations to Stephanie Wyman who ran yet another PB to achieve first place this month, with Jane Harris second and Neil Bradshaw, also on a PB, third. This makes for building excitement in the Tom Hogshead with the women are snapping at the heels of Rob Crangle on 127 point. Stephanie Wyman is now in striking distance on 117, Shelley Black is in third place on 89 and Ann bennet in fourth on 85. In the Kinahan Challenge, Beat Vogt is on a creditable 63 with Eddie Brocklesby on 48 and Jan Farmer on 43. If you are a scratch runnerr, over the next couple of weeks, you may see some adjustment to your Tom Hogshead score - the Serpentine Club committee will be correcting a fault in the programme which had been allowing second time scratch runners to earn bonus points before they were entitled to under race rules. This should not affect anyone's overall chances in the annual competition but if you are concerned, please e mail the Handicap Team.

Serpentine Handicap (04 Jun 2011)

Kind race conditions, an army of competent helpers and a smaller field (86)than we sometimes see, combined to ensure a race that ran to time and produced some excellent results this month. A big thank you to our team of helpers - again a very professional job.

Congratulations to our winner, Chris Stagg, to Keith Evans (2nd) and Neil Bradshaw (3rd for the second month running and with another PB!)

The Tom Hogshead sees Rob Crangle still at the top (150) and Stephanie Wyman still in second (136) but Neil Bradshaw coming with a very strong finish now moves into third place and could be a real threat to the leaders on 113.

The Kinahan Challenge sees Beate Vogt still in the lead on 63 but with Eddie Brocklesby now within striking distance on 56 and Jan Farmer on 43.

After the race it was announced that the August Handicap would have to be moved because it clashed with the planned Trial Triathlon. The likely new date is 30th July but this will have to be confirmed asap.

Serpentine Handicap (02 Jul 2011)

Congratulations to Nick Fairclough who won with a PB of 30:14, Ian Hall 2nd and Jean-Luc Hoez in 3rd. Well done to the 28 others who managed to achieve PBs in what was scorching weather with no breeze off the lake.

The Tom Hogshead is heating up as Stephanie Wyman has overtaken Rob Crangle by one point for the lead and third being tied between Neil Bradshaw and Nick Faiclough!

Serpentine Handicap (30 Jul 2011)

Three features made the August 2011 Handicap unique and possibly even worthy of historic mention. First, it was held in July rather than August (having to give way to an Olympic trial event scheduled for 6th August); second, it was run over a new route (created to avoid the increasing risks of running straight through the Lido Cafe forecourt); and thirdly, it coincided with Bob Davidson's 80th birthday. Bob ran through the finish line to the roar of his fellow Serpies singing "Happy Birthday Dear Bob, Happy Birthday to You!" What an achievement, many congratulations, Bob, you have done us proud!

Our grateful thanks go to Malcolm French, Amy Cope and Ros Young together with their team of marshalls. It was their sheer determination that this race should go ahead that enabled a full risk assessment to be completed, a new route to be arranged, measured, licensed and then marshalled all within a matter of days.

So how was the new route? It was noticeable that some members were convinced that the new route is more challenging since it now contains "a hill" (As someone who now lives in Cornwall, I find it interesting to think that Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens might contain a hill, however ....)

Inspite of the alleged hill, the 78 runners recorded a good number of PB's. Congratulations to Andrew Williams, first; to Stephanie Vaatz, second with a PB, and to Alan Hall, third.

The Tom Hogshead is looking extremely competitive at the top, which should make for an interesting final four months. In first place we have Stephanie Wyman with 151 points (7 races); second now Rob Crangle with 150 points (six races); and Neil Bradshaw with 141 points (seven races). Congratulations to Nick Fairclough, currently fourth on 139 points.

Serpentine Handicap (01 Oct 2011)

Possibly the hottest October Handicap on record – officially 29◦C but almost certainly feeling a lot hotter for many taking part, nevertheless saw 20 runners of the 91 runners turn in a PB, including all of the medallists. Michael Stainton was our worthy winner, knocking 1:12 off his PB; Claudio Belotti came in a mere 2s slower, with Giles Baleny rounding off the top three.

We were pleased to welcome 23 scratch runners who may have been surprised to find themselves taking part in a rather hot and 'hilly' race, instead of the cool and breezy lakeside institution much discussed in the clubroom.

Heat aside, however, this was a special occasion. Congratulations go to Marianne Morris for completing her 150th Handicap. We are all so impressed, Marianne.

And then Sid Wills made a very special presentation. Eamonn Richardson had joined the club 25 years ago and had worked ceaselessly to ensure its success. It is Eamonn, apparently, that we have to thank for those Saturday morning circles, as well as, of course, those much loved dynamic stretches which, over the years, have become a tourist attraction. Eamonn has now run an incedible 238 Handicap races and richly deserves his No.1 status (although we learnt that he paid £65 for that honour!). So Sid presented Eamonn with Life Membership of the Club and we toasted this special occasion with champagne and shared round the grapes and potatoes that Eamonn had brought from his garden. Thank you, Eamonn – a real inspiration.

The Tom Hogshead is starting to thin out at the top but competition for the very top is close. Rob Crangle still holds the top spot but only by the narrowest of margins. Neil Bradshaw, on 173, is just five points behind and hot on his heels with 163 is Stephanie Wyman. Claudio Belotti is looking very dangerous in fifth place.

A big thank you to all our marshals and helpers, even more necessary as we continue with our temporary route.

As we approach December 2011, the current Handicap Team are looking for their successors to take this wonderful race into 2012 and beyond. If you think you might be interested and would like to know more, please e mail us at

Serpentine Handicap (05 Nov 2011)

For many Serpies this race was tinged with sadness with the very recent death of Brian Harris. Brian had been a club member since 1999 and had both run his first Handicap and won the Tom Hogshead Trophy in the year 2000. Sid Wills spoke with fondness of Brian's great dignity. The assembled Serpies applauded Brian's life and running career - he would be sadly missed.

So, another month and another route. A huge thank you to Ros for devising and measuring this one!

The November handicap was won by Rita Courtney (PB), with Jane Harris Second and Neil Bradshaw third (PB). And Neil goes into the lead in the Tom Hogshead. Many congratulations to these three; to the 14 Serpies who claimed a PB; and to the 94 finishers.

Every month we discover why the rules we have were made in the first place. This time one of our runners accidentally forgot to wear his number. He honourably accepted his disqualification (as per the rules) but the chaos caused to the results by us allowing him to run without that number was out of all proportion - and if some of you still find that your time is a few seconds different to that recorded on your stop watch, we apologise. Lesson for future please always wear you number and wear it on your FRONT!

We also apologise that we were not able to remove the geese from the midway point (lady told us it might affect their mental health) and the very large dog in the home straight (Victoria tried a stand-up argument with the dog's owner, surprisingly to no avail!)

Serpentine Handicap (03 Dec 2011)

A very big thank you to the army of helpers who enabled the final Handicap of 2011 to take place - we know that many of you altered your plans at the last minute to assist. Again the race was held over an interesting route determined by both the Winter Wonderland and the continuing work on our more traditional route.

79 runners were prepared to take it on this month and 77 crossed the finishing line. Many congratulations to Kate Langley, first, Anne Losfield, second, and to Ron Hagell, third and achieving a race medal after a ten year gap. Brilliant!

Ron had to sprint to achieve his third place, however, with Peter Kinahan running a storming race for fourth place. Pete is tremendously proud of joining the "page four" starters with a new start time of 20 mins 30 seconds.

Today's race also decided the Tom Hogshead and many congratulations go to Neil Bradshaw for being our clear 2011 winner on 196 points. Congratulations to all who worked so hard during the year and particularly those who made the top ten: Rob Crangle (2nd);Stephanie Wyman (3rd); Ian Johnson (4th); Claudio Belotti (5th); Sarah Edmunds (6th); Peter Kinahan (7th); Nick Fairclough (8th); Anne Bennett (9th); and Nick Purser (10th).

Special congratulations must go too to Keith Evans who at this race achieved his 150th Handicap - Keith, we very much appreciated the celebratory drink.

SPECIAL NOTICE FOR JANUARY HANDICAP: the normal handicap team are all away and Bev and Ros have kindly stepped in to organise the race. However this does mean that we can't take any new scratch runners for that race.

Ann Kinahan, who has been living in Cornwall for the last 18 months, now steps down from the Handicap team permanently and we are very pleased to welcome in her stead Victoria O'Sullivan and Jane Bailey.

Best wishes to all Handicap runners and helpers for a wonderful Christmas and an injury free 2012!

Ann Kinahan and your Handicap Team

Serpentine Handicap (07 Jan 2012)

Dry, bright, breezy and not too cold. In fact, excellent conditions for the inaugural 2012 club handicap.

With the Winter Wonderland now a de-construction site, we used the same course as for November and December.

Winner on the day was Emma Danks, with Paul Pulze in second place and Ian Johnson third.

A bumper field but it all went of smoothly, thanks to a fantastic bunch of officials and marshals.

Officials: Ian Hodge, Owen Barder, Grethe Petersen, James Stratford, Hilary Walker, Andy Hibbert, Nicola Sanderson, John D’Souza, Beate Vogt

Marshals: Adam Bromeleit, Angela McGhee, Charlotte Frith, Ken Kwok, Desmond Hampton, Richard Taylor, George Alan, Alan Hall, Michelle Homden, Eddie Brocklesby, Eddie Murphy, Nadia Labib.

Particular thanks to Ian, Owen and Grethe for getting the results out as usual.

Bev Thomas and Ros Young

Serpentine Handicap (04 Feb 2012)

Congratulations to the winners of this very cold February Handicap: Treena Naylor, Rita Courtney and Guy O’Keefe. This month the route reverted back to what is becoming known as the North Meadows route. It is likely that this will be the main route until after the Olympics. Thankfully it is very pretty which goes some way to make up for it not being around the Serpentine. Fear not! As soon as the Royal Parks have stopped digging up the Lido and hosting the international community in “our park” we have it on good authority that the normal route around the Serpentine will be restored.

This was the current team’s last Handicap and we want to thank you all for the kind words of support and well wishes that we have received. We are so grateful. We have loved organising this race. We wish the next team the best of luck and look forward to supporting them whole heartedly as we join the runners entering the Handicap. Please shout encouragement to us as you run past us puffing along on the route in March!

Thank you especially this month to the team of helpers and supporters that braved frostbite to make today happen. We are as always indebted to you and we are so grateful for your enduring commitment to the Handicap. To the scratch runners planning to run March as your first real race please remember that you must wear a Serpie shirt to be eligible. That is all for now and thank you once again from the current team signing off.

All the best, Victoria Carrington, Anne Morris and Nyla Hussain.

Serpentine Handicap (03 Mar 2012)

Congratulations to the winners of the March Handicap: Sebi Hudspith, David McGregor, Marianne Morris. This was the second month around the "North Meadows route", which will be our normal route until after the Olympics.

This month we bid a sad farewell to the old Handicap team, and welcomed in the new Handicap team. From the new Handicap team thank you all for supporting us on the day, and making the event run without any glitches. We would like to especially thank the team of helpers and supporters that helped to make today happen. We could not have done it without you! Thank you again to Victoria (who was running the Handicap)and Stephanie for going the extra mile (no pun intended) in ensuring that we knew what we were are doing.

Saturday saw a large number of first time Handicap runners, as well as our usual core runners which was fantastic to see.
After the race, Sid "hosted" the 2011 Hogshead prize giving ceremony - not quite the Oscars but a close second. Congratulations to the winners Neil Bradshaw, Robert Crangle,and Stephanie Wyman. A special prize was awarded to Valerie Metcalfe who won a beautiful wooden mouse.

From me and the rest of the Handicap team, best wishes, and see you next month.
Midula Dey, Jeremy Milne, Beatriz Soden

Serpentine Handicap (07 Apr 2012)

Due to continuing work on the main course, the alternative 'Bandstand - Marble Arch - West Carriage Drive - Parks Police - Serpentine 2 lap course was run.

Less runners than usual it being the Easter weekend, 68 runners in total, 16 of whom were scratch runners. All runners finished, with 23 beating their personal best. With Hugh Tory still to start while some runners had already begun their second lap; this did confused the lap timers, but it does emphasises what a good idea the handicap is, it is not often you'll get a chance to be a lap a head of Hugh.

1st place David McGregor
2nd place Charles Doxat
3rd place Anne Bennet

Charles Doxat also set a new V70 handicap record. The previous record was set 11 years ago by Bob Davidson in April 2001 in a time of 31:33 and Charles has set a challenging new mark with a time of 29:05.

Guy OKeefe leads the Tom Hogshead, Jeremy Freer is second and Jo Beak third.

Thanks to all the runners and especially a big thank you to the helpers.

See you next month.

The handicap team

Serpentine Handicap (05 May 2012)

The alternative 'Bandstand - Marble Arch - West Carriage Drive - Parks Police - Serpentine' 2 lap course was run.

78 runners started this bank holiday weekend, with just one retiree. We had 17 scratch runners with 22 runners beating their personal best.

1st place Richard Smith
2nd place Brian Pickles
3rd place Rita Courtney

Charles Doxat for the second handicap running set a new V70 handicap record! His previous months 29:05 has been reduced down to a new record of 28:26. In Olympic year we're now expecting others to pick up the challenge in the other record categories....

Guy OKeefe leads the Tom Hogshead, Jeremy Freer is second and Treena Naylor takes over third place.

Thanks to all the runners and especially the helpers. See you next month and watch out for the likely changed date to avoid the busy park's Jubilee weekend.

Serpentine Handicap (09 Jun 2012)

The alternative 'Bandstand - Marble Arch - West Carriage Drive - Parks Police - Serpentine 2 laps course was run.

We had 67 runners, 8 beating their personal best!

Congratulations to the winners:

1st place Richard Taylor
2nd place Bernadette McKernan
3rd place Craig Barney

Guy OKeefe leads the Tom Hogshead, Jeremy Freer is second and Treena Naylor on third place.

Thanks to all the helpers and see you next month!

Serpentine Handicap (07 Jul 2012)

Due to the Wireless festival the alternative 'Bandstand - Marble Arch - West Carriage Drive - Parks Police - Serpentine' 2 lap course was run. It was busy with festival goers and delivery lorries.

This month we celebrated Chris Staggs 200th handicap, Chris's first handicap was also on the 7th July, back in 1990. Sid Willis spoke for the club expressing how proud the club is of Chris's achievent; only the second Serpie ever to have achieved this. A Serpie '200' vest was then presented to Chris (sort of!). Chris thanked everyone and he and his wife provided champagne and cakes! Along with the champagne (thanks David and Manuel) to celebrate Charles Doxat recent running achievements I wouldn't be surprised if a few Serpies ended at the Wireless festival later, or Pride London...

The Race
71 Runners registered, 70 runners started and 69 finished, 12 of whom were scratch runners. 14 Runners beat their personal best.

1st place Paul Collins
2nd place Tom Donovan
3rd place Eamonn Richardson

Sue Lambert also set a new FV70 handicap record of 35:03. Fantastic!

Treena Naylor leads the Tom Hogshead, Andrew Roberts is second and Guy O'Keefe third.

Thanks to all the runners and of course the helpers. See you next month which will be on 11th August to avoid the Olympic triathlon.

Serpentine Handicap (01 Sep 2012)

The alternative 'Bandstand - Marble Arch - West Carriage Drive - Parks Police - Serpentine' 2 lap course was run and without the Olympics sharing the park it was a little less crowded. Almost a third of runners were scratch runners this month so registration took a little longer than usual, so thank you for your patience.

The Race
74 Runners registered, 74 runners started and 74 finished; 23 of whom were scratch runners. 13 racers beat their personal best.

1st place Gavin Murrison
2nd place Carolyn Jackson
3rd place Joanna Beak

Andrew Roberts leads the Hogshead, Treena Naylor is second and Joanna Beak third.

Apologies for those who were sent out last months results via text, you should now have September's!

Thanks to all the runners and of course the helpers. See you next month which will be on 6th October.

Serpentine Handicap (06 Oct 2012)

The alternative 'Bandstand - Marble Arch - West Carriage Drive - Parks Police - Serpentine' 2 lap course was run.
On a lovelly sunny autumnal morning 73 Serpies took part in the monthly handicap race. We were also very pleased to welcome 3 visitors from Australia, 2 of whom were ex serpies.
There were 14 scratch runners.
13 racers beat their personal best

1st place Carrie Doyle
2nd place Sid Wills
3rd place Sebi Hudspith

Andrew Roberts leads the Hogshead, Treena Naylor is second and Joanna Beak third.

Thanks to all the runners and of course the helpers. See you next month which will be on 3rd November and will also be Eamonn Richardsons 250th race.

Serpentine Handicap (03 Nov 2012)

The alternative 'Bandstand - Marble Arch - West Carriage Drive - Parks Police - Serpentine' 2 laps course was run.

On a lovely sunny morning 76 runners took part in the monthly handicap race, there were 17 scratch runners.

1st place - Jeremy Freer
2nd place - Beate Vogt
3rd place - Sharon Lindores

But the highlight of the race was Eamon's 250 handicap race, an incredible achievement.

Thanks to all the helpers!

Serpentine Handicap (05 Jan 2013)

The first handicap race of the 2013 series was run on a very mild January morning. To avoid the Winter ‘Wonderland’ the alternative half Serpentine ‘there-and-almost-back-again, then-there-again-and-all-the-way-back’ route was run.

Clearly New Year resolutions were in action with 95 Serpies registered; 94 started and 92 finished with an amazing 38 being Serpie scratch runners and 21 first timers. 16 Serpies beat their previous personal best.

Congratulations to winner Sebi Hudspith, second place Giles Heywood and third place Paul Pulze.

It being January, the 2012 series Hogshead trophy was presented to the 2012 winner Andrew Roberts. Second place going to Ian Johnson and joint third place to Jeremy Freer and Treena Naylor. In an attempt to slow them down in the future all also received a box of chocolates.

Thanks to all the runners and of course the helpers. See you next month which will be on 2nd February.

Serpentine Handicap (02 Feb 2013)

The cold winter month of February reduced the crowds around the two Serpentine cafés and allowed us to run the traditional twice around the Serpentine route this month. The first time this route has been run for quite a while.

Despite the cold we had the maximum number of runners turnout, with over a third (35) being scratch runners. It was 16 runners first time at the handicap and 24 runners beat their previous best. Just for a bit of info; 25 minutes 1 second separated the first and last without the handicap adjustment allowed for and 12 minutes 2 seconds separated first and last after allowing for the handicap adjustment.

Congratulations to winner Paul Collins, second place Margaret Sills and third place Grace Wu.

Thanks to all the runners and of course the helpers. See you next month, which will be on 2nd March.

Serpentine Handicap (06 Apr 2013)

The traditional twice around the Serpentine route was run again this month. It was a beautiful morning starting cold but with warming sunshine. We had 70 runners in total with 11 being scratch runners. 26 Minutes separated the first and last runner without the handicap adjustment allowed for and 9 minutes 32 seconds separated first and last after allowing for the handicap adjustment.

It was 6 runners first time at the handicap, 6 runners had run over 100 times and 2 over 200 times. 23 Runners beat their previous best.

Congratulations to winner Albert Ruiz Sena, second place Jon Knox, third place William Simpson.

Thanks to all the runners and of course the helpers. See you next month, which will be on 4th May.

Serpentine Handicap (01 Jun 2013)

The alternative twice around the Serpentine route was run again this month; this alternative route going behind the Lido Café to avoid the tea tray hazard.

It started out a beautiful blue sky morning, then clouded over by the time the race started, helping us all avoided sunburn.

We had 88 runners in total with 22 being scratch runners. It was 12 runners first time at the handicap and 13 runners beat their previous best. 21 Minutes 9 seconds separated the first and last runner without the handicap adjustment allowed for and just 8 minutes 52 seconds separated first and last after allowing for the handicap adjustment. Quite a tide of red and gold Serpies charging for the line.

Congratulations to winner Fliss Berridge, second place Keith Evans and third place Matt Williams.

After the race Keith Evans finally received his 2012 Handicap Egg trophy for scoring the lowest number of points over 8 races last year. Judging by Keith’s second place in today’s race he is clearly determined to pass the trophy on to a different Serpie in 2013!

Matt Williams leads the 2013 Hogshead trophy table, with Margaret Sills second and Sebi Edmunds third.

Thanks to all the runners and of course the helpers. See you next month, which will be on 6th July.

Serpentine Handicap (03 Aug 2013)

This month's handicap started with a minute's silence in memory of John Leyne - a Serpie who particularly enjoyed the event.

It was great to see 10 pbs, as well as plenty of new runners and marshals.

Race winner Keira Attwoll showed once again that having a baby is the best way to win the handicap; while Tim Forman and Andrew Williams, in 2nd and 3rd, both knocked impressive chunks off their pbs. Margaret Sills has a healthy, but not unassailable, lead in the Hogshead Trophy.

Please note that, because of clashes with other events, September's handicap will be run a week early - on Saturday 31st August.

Serpentine Handicap (04 Jan 2014)

The 2014 Handicap series started with an inspired decision to hold registration on a table outside the Serpentine cafe. This kept the runners dry and the volunteers supplied with coffee. We'll see if we can make this a bad weather tradition!

In the race itself, Kiera Attwooll scored another impressive win, although she was nearly caught by Nicola Barberis Negra who stormed through the field overtaking about 70 people before ending up second. Nicola McGlennon took a minute of her PB to come third.

There was also a PB for Laurent Le Mee, who won the tight contest to be the first fast Frenchman home. Andrew Maynard got the best age-graded time (77.7%), while new runner Alexandra Workman came home in a deeply satisfying 29.59!

At the back of the field, Sid Wills showed he will be hard to beat in this year's competition for the Egg Award.

Serpentine Handicap (01 Mar 2014)

It may have been the first of March but this month's handicap was graced by the first signs of spring. Not only did the rain hold off, but there was some early blossom on the trees and a group of ducklings tried to block the runners as they made their way round the Serpentine!

Jon Knox also looked to have a spring in his step as he hoved into view on the final lap, but Ivana Olachova had him in her sights and showed no mercy as she stormed past to take victory by three seconds. Giles Heywood took third, while podium regulars Sharon Lindares and Fliss Berridge came fourth and fifth. Giles takes the lead in the Hogshead Trophy table, followed by Jon and Sharon.

As usual this year, there were many great performances. Philip Cuypers, Alex Malzer, Melanie Hilton, Paul Stoker, Tom Poynton, Encarna Rodriguez, Sean Fabri, Thomas Wilson, Ben Stanton, Melanie McCullagh, Christopher Hopton all set PBs - with Sean getting the highly-prized time of 29.59. More than half of our scratch runners also recorded their best performances.

Raul Kharbanda was at the back of the field - although he was delayed by greeting friends at the end of the first lap. For his part, Sid Wills shattered his Egg Award chances by racing flat out and coming 30th. Perhaps he had heard that a professional photographer had turned up to shoot Serpentine's golden oldies!

We were lucky enough to have Serpie legend John Walker on hand to give out the medals on his 70th birthday. John reminded us that he is the only runner to have won the Handicap from the back of the field and that he still holds the V40 record. The Handicap team have consulted the history books and it turns out that the open men's and women's records date from 1988 and 2001 respectively. So it's high time our fastest runners took them on!