Serpiesphere Virtual 5K – Results for Spring Series Race 9, and Instructions for Summer Series

The time has come to congratulate the winners of the final race of the Spring series. We’re also very excited to announce that due to popular demand, the brand new Summer series of the Serpiesphere is starting on Tuesday, 1st June!  Lots of runners found that the warmer weather put a spring in their step, as we saw some impressive improvements on past performances. Click above to find out who topped the leader board in the last race of Spring, as well as the schedule for the next series and some new rules as we move on into Summer. 

Race 9 Virtual Podium

As usual, the final race of the series saw a closely fought contest, with the 3 podium places changing hands many times over the course of the fortnight.

Congratulations to the following 3 runners who finished on top: 

1st Place: Sam Jones edges ahead to snatch the gold medal, with a huge improvement of over 5 minutes from his first race of this series in January, finishing with a handicapped time of 57:00 (net time of 24:30).

2nd Place: Val Metcalf follows just a second behind, earning herself a well-deserved silver medal, with a handicapped time of 57:01 (net time of 28:01).

3rd Place: Camilla Allwood grabs herself the bronze medal, also making a fantastic improvement of nearly 5 minutes since January, with a handicapped time of 57:36 (net time of 28:51). 

Also, the fastest performers of Race 9 are:

Fastest Male: Daniele Biagi surges ahead to take this title in just his second Serpiesphere appearance, with a net time of 17:16 (handicapped at 59:46). 

Fastest Female: Mariah McConnaughey continues her winning streak with, with a net time of 19:42 (handicapped at 60:42). 

Best age-graded performance: Victoria Brown takes this one with an impressive age grading of 77.3%.

We also had a great scratch performance this week from Karrie Archer – we hope you enjoyed the race and will continue to take part in our Summer series! 

As promised, we are giving away 2 copies of “Running Stories”, the brilliant new book by Jerry Lockspeiser and Andrew Roberts. “Running Stories” showcases 88 extraordinary stories from ordinary runners, each with a photo of the writer. Jerry and Andrew are kindly donating all their sales revenues to support The Running Charity and their amazing work with homeless young people.

I can now announce that the 2 lucky winners of a copy of “Running Stories” are:

  • Sam Jones – who topped the handicap leader board for Race 9.
  • Ian Johnson – whose name was randomly selected from the list of all the Race 9 participants.

If you didn’t win this time, don’t worry – “Running Stories” is available through AmazonWaterstonesHiveBlackwell’s and independent bookshops for around £8.99, and the eBook is also available on Amazon for £5.99.


Overall Series Winners

The overall Spring series league table has been calculated using a combination of handicapped points, which recognise improvement, and bonus points, which are awarded for the fastest performances and highest age gradings each fortnight. This means that runners of all paces have an equal chance of winning.

At the end of the Spring series, we have 4 runners who have clearly broken ahead of a chasing group behind them. Congratulations to:

  • Matthew Vokes in First Place with a total of 155 points.
  • Victoria Brown in Second Place with a total of 151 points.
  • Baiju McCubbins in Third Place with 125 points.
  • Alison Hinton in Fourth Place with 121 points.

I’m very pleased that we have an impressive group of 25 runners who have taken part in all 9 races of the Spring series. I’d like to make a special mention of the following 25 runners for their excellent commitment to the Serpiesphere: Alex Malzer, Alexander Kolb, Ana Penalver, Andrew Maynard, Anne Bennett, Anthony Lee, Avril Riddell, Baiju McCubbins, Frank Womelsdorf, Georgina McFadyen, Hans Ho, Hilary Walker, Ian Johnson, James Paterson, Liz Wilkinson, Mark Smith, Matthew Vokes, Pip Jones, Sam Jones, Sarah Knox, Sophie Taylor, Stephanie Vaatz, Val Metcalf, Victoria Brown and William Simpson.

In particular, a big shout out to these 7 runners, who have shown outstanding dedication by entering all 35 Serpiesphere events, such it began during the depths of the first lockdown: Alex Malzer, Frank Womelsdorf, Georgina McFadyen, Hans Ho, Hilary Walker, Sophie Taylor and Stephanie Vaatz.

Well done, and keep up the excellent work during the next series!

Photo competition

Thank you to those of you who shared some beautiful photos showcasing your running routes during the first 2 weeks of May. 

The winner of the final photo competition of the series is Anthony Lee, with this shot of swans swimming on the Serpentine, with a view of the Henry Moore sculpture in the background. I’d also like to thank Anthony for capturing the Henry Moore arch in such a variety of weathers, times of day and camera angles, throughout the Spring series. 

Please keep sending in your photos during the new series – I’m particularly looking forward to seeing your varied running locations in (hopefully) more summery weather.

Serpiesphere Summer Series 

Thank you to everyone who emailed me with your views on continuing the virtual races. The overwhelming feedback was that the Serpiesphere is a valuable way of keeping everyone connected and should continue at least twice a month. As a result, I’m pleased to announce the schedule for the Summer series:

Race 1 – 1 June to 15 June

Race 2 - 16 June to 30 June

Race 3 - 1 July to 16 July

Race 4 - 17 July to 31 July

Race 5 - 1 August to 16 August

Race 6 - 17 August to 31 August

Race 7 - 1 September to 15 September

Race 8 - 16 September to 30 September

 I’d also like to say a big thank you to Alex Malzer who has helped make the new series possible, by volunteering to manage the spreadsheet keeping track of all the participants’ points.

The Summer series will operate in the same way as the Spring series, with 2 races per month, but please note we are introducing an important change to the rules. We are aware that with lockdown easing, more and more people are taking the opportunity to participate in real-life races and events. However, we would like the Serpiesphere to continue to reward participants’ efforts when training individually. We also want to ensure a fair competition for members living away from larger cities, where there may be fewer opportunities to take part in organised races. 

This means that going forward, please do not enter a time that you’ve achieved during a real-life race or event. It is fine to use a 5K time that you’ve run with a small group of friends, or a segment of a longer run, but it must be an independent run and not part of an organised event. 

Race 1 opens tomorrow, Tuesday 1st June and will close at 10pm on Tuesday 15th June.

Follow the instructions below to enter:

1. Run 5K, anytime before the closing date. You can run on any route you choose, wherever you are in the world! Just don't choose a route with a significant net downhill.

2. Enter your time before 10pm on Tuesday 15th June here. Click "self-add result" and then choose "1 June 2021" (which includes all performances from 1st to 15th June).

3. Take a photo or screenshot that shows your time and distance. This can be a screenshot of your Strava / Garmin result page, or a picture of your watch. As long as the distance is a minimum of 5.00km (or 3.11 miles) and it shows a finish time, it will be accepted.

4. Submit the photo or screenshot here -  before 10pm on 15th June (this link can also be found in the same page as the “self-add result” page). Click “Add Files” and find the file you want to add. You do not need a Dropbox account. This will just ask for your name (so we can correlate your performance with the time submitted) and email address (so you’ll get a confirmation of upload).

5. If you can, also upload a photo of somewhere along your running route. As we're geographically separated at the moment, this is a nice way to keep in touch with where other people are running. There will be special mentions and possibly even prizes for the most artistic photos.

6. Shortly after the race closing time, the Serpie computer system will magically calculate your handicapped time and award your points. You'll score at least 3 points for entering (or at least 1 point if you're a scratch runner), plus extra points depending on your finishing position.

7. You’re welcome to run 5K more than once during the 2-week race period, and then choose your best time to enter. If you’ve already registered a time and then manage to improve on it, just click “edit” after selecting the race date, and change it your new improved time.

More information

Please email Sophie if you have any questions or need help entering your time.

Don't forget to follow social distancing guidelines during your races, and don't run if you have any symptoms of Covid 19.

Good luck everyone!

The Serpiesphere Virtual 5K team (Sophie, Baiju and Pete)

Submitted: 31 May 2021