March handicap report

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 Lindores 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!

Many thanks to this month's helpers, who were: Bev Thomas, James Stratford, John D'Souza, Tamara Lopez, Anthony Stranger-Jones, Eda Korkmaz, Martha McKenzie-Minifie, Stephanie Vaatz, Nicola Barberis Negra, Jennifer Bradley, Eddie Murphy, Catharine Sowerby, Hillary Walker and Nick Fairclough.

See you in April!
Your Handicap Team
handicapper@serpentine.org.uk

Submitted: 4 March 2014

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