Serpentine round-up - October 2020

Many thanks to David Chalfen for writing up the below, and congratulations to everyone involved.

A limited return to racing has resumed in recent weeks, with a few small but often high standard track meetings drawing in some Serpies, and ditto some road races in and around London, to build on all the ‘virtual’ races and time trials that many have been doing over the last six months.

Whilst several of the club's fastest have been holding back from racing tests, some others have been showing good progress over the last few troubled months.

The recent Kew Gardens 10k in mid-September included Andrea Fraquelli 33.17 10th ,George Suthon (who won the Hillingdon 20 miles in 1.56 in one of the very last pre-Covid road races) 33.27 PB, and Chris Tsantoulas scoring a big PB  34.16,  Jess Wellborn led the Serpie women with a strong 37.11 PB in 3rd.

Recent 3000m leaders have been Jonathan Poole 8.56, Lewis Greaves a big improver to 9.21 and Tim Powell 9.34 after several races.

The Club 5k Virtual Champs brought out some who did a seeded small waved time trial at the club’s actual race course on the year’s hottest evening. The fastest recent virtual time of 15.35 by Scott O Connor just about survived, with a gradually returning Chris Wright coming home in 15.36, with Andrea Fraquelli chasing in 15.47, ahead of Ben Tolputt 16.21 and George Suthon 16.24, a PB. Jess Wellborn clocked a fine PB of 17.54.

Recently returned to Utrecht, Netherlands, but retaining his club affiliation, Joost Vogel has also been at his best with PBs of 15.48 at 5k and 33.50 at 10k, the latter wining the Club’s virtual 10k Champs race. Also logging a series of strong 5k times dotted around 18.30, quickest of 18.27 so far, in recent months has been Tash Sheel whilst amongst age graded runs there have been some very strong mid 80s% times by Andrew Roberts (V65) Catkin Shelley (V55) and evergreen Andy Reeves who has recently hit 50.

 Many members have basically had two sets of marathon prep wiped out – the spring block and then the work done for the rearranged autumn options, now almost all cancelled. There are a couple of positive exceptions to this trend at the time of writing. The Wrexham ‘elite’ marathon, with qualifying times of 2.40 for men and 3.00 for women, was sadly cancelled due to local COVID-19 restrictions; however the principle of select closed long distance races for this good club level will remain. There was also a 600-capacity ‘waved’ Dorney Marathon on 4 October which includes some nippy Serpies seeking fast runs on this dead flat course; more to come on that shortly.

Members will no doubt have been worrying about whether 2.16 marathoner Tony Payne has progressed in his bid for Thailand selection for next year’s Tokyo Olympics. The answer is ‘not yet’ though he has nevertheless secured Thai prominence by starring in a TV shampoo ad.

Submitted: 11 October 2020