Handicap report for December 2014

Due to overwhelming public demand (from all of two people), the Serpentine Handicap report is back for December – with news of an epic race and a summary of another fantastic year.

With the Serpie men clearly distracted by Christmas shopping, it was up to the women to sprint it out for a coveted place on Santa's Handicap podium. Kiera Atwool put in yet another superb performance, coming in third in her fiftieth handicap. That left two Irish thoroughbreds battling it out for glory - with Nicola McGlennon and her flowery shorts eventually speeding past Siobhan Wakeley in the final furlong. Well done to all of them!

There was even more Irish success lower down the field as Sorcha Wakely and Donna McCourt also recorded PBs (there must be something in the Guinness!), as did Sophie Cappleman. Sophie isn't Irish as far as the Handicap Team can tell, although it wouldn't be a surprise if she turned to be from Ballykissangel.

Although the men were disappointing overall, a handful of performances were far from disgraceful. Led by Huw Lobb, who finished in a blistering 23.45, the following saved the honour of the Serpentine macho by running PBs: Theo Highland, Andrew Roberts, Michael Stainton, Raoul Mansukhani, Stephen Campbell, Gideon Reid, Tom Bartlett and Peter Clarke. Michael was also the fastest age-graded runner.

And indeed if we're looking for a truly underwhelming performance, it's hard not to single out Sophia Holder. Sophia came in more than five minutes behind her PB, but apparently she was "enjoying watching all the other runners go by". So that's alright then.

Turning to 2014 as a whole, the winner of the Hogshead Trophy is Andrew Williams. Andrew had a bit of a shocker in December, but his consistency throughout the year made him a worthy champion. Theo Highland and Alexandre Bernigaud came a strong second and third respectively. For her part, Ivana Olachova should be ruing what might have been.

As for the best times of the year, the fastest man in 2014 was Rick Weston in 23:44. V35: Huw Lobb (23.45 - ie one second slower!). V40: Gavin Edmonds (25.56). V45 and V50: Michael Stainton (26.12). V60; Giles Heywood (28.21). V65 and V70 Charles Doxat (30:20). V75: Geoffrey Maddrell (44:09). Charles was also the fastest age-graded runner, with 84.8 per cent.

Among the women: SL Harriet Hughes (27.59). FV35 and FV40: Grace Wu (28:26). FV45 Grethe Peterson (32:36). FV50 and FV55: Helen Hughes (33:18). FV60: Margaret Sills (39:24). FV65 and FV70 Eddie Brocklesby (42.48).

As always, the Handicap would not be possible without all our volunteers, so please raise a Christmas glass to all those who helped out in December 2014 (and apologies if we missed anyone out): Deep Bala, James Stratford, Kirsty Mansfield, Anthony Stranger-Jones, Martha Mckenzie-Minifie, Michael Woodcock, Eda Korkmaz, Maria Bain, Tamara Lopez, Lynne Rogers, Stefanie Woodwood, John D'Souza

Enjoy the festive season and see you on January the 3rd!
love from your Handicap Team!

Submitted: 20 December 2014