Serpentine - What’s Happening in October 2020

Hello Serpies,

So I hear, autumn is upon us now and it is a little colder, darker and rainier. Also there is some uncertainty regarding how the Covid-related restrictions will change. But try to tell us Serpies that – of course, just like much of this unusual year, we only know how to be active! Here is our full October programme…

Latest Guidance on Running Activities

Following the latest UK government restrictions in September, both England Athletics (which governs athletics) and Run Britain (which looks after road running) have recently revised their guidance – please see these links for more details:

Our club activities follow their guidance. In response to some comments we have received, their guidance is the reason why we need to maintain pre-activity sign-up and organise sessions in groups of six or less.  The good news is this latest round of guidance has not led to any change or cancellation of our activities that have already been in our September programme.

To continue all our great sessions, everyone has a part to play – make sure you sign up before your sessions as required; remember social distancing, face covering and good hygiene; and refrain from attending if you are unfortunate enough to exhibit the recognised Covid symptoms.

Any questions about our activities and procedure regarding Covid prevention, please email our interim Covid coordinator Liz Ayres.

Serpiesphere Virtual 5k - the Autumn Series

Since the start of September we have been holding the Serpiesphere Virtual 5k Autumn Series. A race will run every fortnight until Christmas – that means you have 14 days (from Saturday morning to Friday evening 2 weeks later) to enter a 5k time you run during that period. We will see who comes out on top, both on net time and on a handicap basis (i.e. time improvement compared with your best time in the past 6 runs).  Please follow this link for more information.  We are now two races into this autumn, the next race periods are:

  • 3rd to 16th October (follow this link for time entry)
  • 17th to 30th October (link for time entry to be created at start of race)
  • 31st October to 13th November (link for time entry to be created at start of race)
  • Further 2-week periods until Christmas

Please contact our organiser Sarah Maisey for more detail.

Club Runs – Every Wednesday and Saturday

Currently, we are running our two-parks and three-parks routes every Saturday morning and Wednesday evening, meeting, starting and finishing in Hyde Park (not meeting at the Seymour Centre from 17 October). We require runners to sign up in advance, so you can be placed in groups of maximum six people running the same route and similar pace. But don’t worry, once you’ve signed up you won’t be turned away – if more people than six are in the same pace group, we’ll just split into further smaller groups. Please follow these links to sign up: 

These links are also available on the front page of our website. Our brilliant club run team (Branwen Jones and George Allan) will then email everyone before the runs to inform you of the groups and start times.  Haven’t run before and don’t know your pace?  Not to worry – choose the two-parks friendly pace to begin with, or get in touch with Sid and he will help you.

Training sessions

Since the start of July, we have been running group training sessions all across London, so you can take advantage of the ones near your doorstep, but of course everyone is welcome to attend any session. Please remember all sessions must be pre-booked prior to attending – no book no play! For the moment, all sessions are in groups of five (plus the coach to comply with the ‘Rule of Six’). Groups will be split up if more than five people sign up, unless otherwise stated.

  • Tuesday Intervals: Evening interval sessions at Bermondsey Spa Gardens.  Details and sign-up please follow this link on the website. Any questions:
  • Tuesday Track: Evening track sessions at Parliament Hill.  This session is primarily for our faster runners (time guidance: sub 36:30 (men) or sub 38:30 (women) for a 10k). Currently the track has not been reopened, therefore the meeting point is at the path right by the track but just outside. Sessions are mainly on the path loop of 600m and multiples (or fractions!) of it.  Any questions please ask the coach: David Chalfen.
  • Thursday Hills: Evening hill sessions at Primrose Hill. Details can be found via this link. Booking and enquiries with the coach: Andrea Sanders-Reece.
  • **NEW** Thursday Sprints: We have a new evening sprint session this month led by our external coach Rachelle Dinsdale at the Paddington Recreation Ground Track (Maida Vale). All abilities including those new to sprints are welcome. Details and booking via this link on the Serpie website. Enquiries: Either Athletics or Juniors committee leads.
  • Saturday Hills: Morning hill sessions at Hampstead Heath. Details and booking via this link on the Serpie website. Enquiries:
  • Saturday Hills: Another morning hill session, this one at Greenwich Park. Details and booking via this link on the Serpie website.

Zoom Training sessions

Although we haven’t yet been able to restart the Tuesday Paddington Rec track sessions and the regular Wednesday spin, we are continuing to run the following sessions:

  • Our Paddington track coach Andy Reeves has been leading a circuit training session on Wednesday evenings since April. Although this is aimed at the normal Tuesday Paddington Rec track group, everyone is welcome to join. Look out for the Facebook messages by Andy before Wednesdays for the Zoom link and details.
  • Rosh Karunaratnecontinues to run the weekly spin classes over Zoom at 7pm every Tuesday. The sessions will have an interval training-based focus and are open to all abilities. Any equipment that allows you to spin is suitable (turbos, exercise bikes, spin bikes etc), plus you’ll need water, a towel, a computer to run Zoom and (optional but very motivating) access to play a Spotify playlist. Join the “Rosh’s Tuesday night spin” WhatsApp group here:

Zwift Weekly Team Time Trial

Just like every week since April this year, we continue to field teams for the Zwift Team Time Trial every Thursday evening. We currently run teams of varying levels including a beginner’s non-drop team, high level mixed teams and ladies-only team. We compete against over 500 teams every week. It is a really good workout, and very social at the same time. So if you have access to Zwift and are free on Thursday evenings, please join us using this link to find out more. Once you have joined, the team can help set you up to race. Please email me for any queries.

Race organisers, run/cycle leaders, officials and coaches

You may recall our recent fundraising campaigns – thank you so much for those who made contributions to the campaigns. One of them was about getting more members to become race organisers, run/cycle leaders, coaches, and officials. With the resumption of club activities in the summer, we are looking for more members interested in becoming qualified to facilitate our sessions or competitions. Since the start of the Covid crisis, we have identified coaches and officials as an area on which the club needs to improve, if we are going to meet a continual need of training sessions and races. For example:

  • Our races, virtual or real life, have required officially trained race directors for the events to take place. This is a position which we have a clear shortage.
  • Although currently there are Serpentine training sessions all across London, with more people working from home and staying local, there is a demand to have more sessions organised locally – that means we need more coaches.
  • The same goes with club runs. As well as the usual two and three parks, there is a possibility of having more locally organised runs. More run leaders are therefore needed.

There have been a few people contacting us lately regarding this – thank you so far!  We are hoping that with the money raised, we will be able to fund members for the training of these positions, as long as there is a commitment to help the club once qualified. If you have ever thought about helping the club whilst obtaining additional skills and doing something fun, now is the time! Please feel free to get in touch with me for further details.

And finally...

Well done to everyone who ran the Virtual London Marathon yesterday - you beat the wind, the rain, and also the solitude (if you ran on your own)!  The optimists among us would hope that the marathon can be staged next year as a mass participation event.  You have until 5pm on Friday to sign up for the 2021 ballot: Good luck!

Enjoy running in October,

Hans Ho

Participation Representative (

Submitted: 4 October 2020