Introducing the “Serpiesphere Virtual 5K”

Hello Serpies,

Disappointed that all the recent races have been cancelled and there have been no club running events for a few weeks? This being Easter, it is time to bring some running back to the Club – introducing the weekly “Serpiesphere Virtual 5K”!

What is the Serpiesphere Virtual 5K?

It is a 5k race operating on a handicapped basis (similar to our usual monthly Handicap), so anybody can win. This means that a slower runner will effectively have a head-start compared to a faster runner. Obviously nothing is quite like running together and trying to catch one another, but this is more than the next best thing. Some unique features:

  • You can (and should) run near your home – hence somewhere familiar to you. You don’t need to travel to a particular venue;
  • You can run anytime – suitable for early morning risers or evening speedy sprinters, plus anyone in-between;
  • Any non-London and overseas Serpies can race too. Race us in America, Australia, elsewhere in Europe, literally anywhere – this race is not called ‘Serpiesphere’ for nothing!
  • If there is demand we may continue to hold this race even after the Covid restrictions are over, alongside normal club activities.


How do I take part?

  1. Run a 5km route somewhere near you during the period between Saturday 00:00 and Friday 23:59. Remember to observe the social distancing rules (see below).
  2. Record your time on your watch/phone with accurate measurement of time and distance. You may also run on a treadmill. (Not happy with your time? Do it again on another day within the weekly period!)
  3. Enter your result before Friday 17th April at 23:59 in this webpage: Please only enter one result per week (there will be a new link next week). You need to be a current member to take part and enter results. Follow the SerpieBase link here to check or renew if you need to:
  4. We will tally up all the 5K times, including your handicap based on your first race. So this week will be a scratch week. From the second race onwards there will be a winner.
  5. A virtual podium will be announced every week – currently it will be on Saturday starting at 11am over Zoom (Details to follow).  As the first race is the scratch race, on Saturday 18th April we will announce the fastest three men and women for this week.  From then on the podium will be for the first three runners with handicapped times.


What kind of route should I choose?

Try and choose a flat-ish route if possible. If hills are unavoidable try to ensure there is approximately as much ascent as descent.

For an accurate idea of how your performance relates to your handicap, we recommend that you run the same route each time (although we realise this may not always be possible). If you do need to change your route do so in a way that is fair to your fellow competitors (e.g. do not run a hilly trail for your scratch run, and then a flat fast tarmac route the next time to increase your chances of winning!).

Most importantly choose a route and a time that allows you to easily distance from others. Not only will this keep your run as safe as possible, but it will also mean that your time won’t be compromised by avoiding or slowing for others. Use the race as an opportunity to find a good, clear, quiet run route near your home.


IMPORTANT!  Social Distancing Race Rules - Do’s and Don’ts:

  • DO run entirely on your own. This is an individual race and you should not arrange to meet up with other runners (or anyone else) at any point before, during or after your run.
  • DO respect social distancing guidelines. You should not come within 2m of anyone else at any point during your run (even if this means compromising your race time by stopping, slowing or running around others). Best to choose a time and run route that is not overcrowded.
  • DON’T run if you have any symptoms of Covid-19.
  • DON’T drive to get to your desired race location. Choose a location that is from, or close to, your home.

By entering your time for the Serpiesphere Virtual 5K you confirm that you have read, understood and abided by the above rules.



We are aware that runners have unfortunately been subject to (sometimes unwarranted) criticism on social media or from the public since Covid restrictions came into force. We trust that all our members are running responsibly during this period, however we hope you understand that if we receive complaints or negative publicity, we may have to review our approach to holding this race.  We therefore ask you to exercise extra caution whilst running the Serpiesphere Virtual 5K.

This race is based on an honesty system and is for everyone to have fun, whilst recognising this less-than-ideal situation we have found ourselves in. Please respect others whilst participating – this includes keeping yourself and others safe, and providing the actual time that you run. 

We may have to alter the race rules in the coming weeks depending on how it goes, so suggestions are welcome - please email Hans or Sarah.

We look forward to seeing everybody’s 5K time before midnight on Friday!


Happy solo running,

Hans Ho & Sarah Maisey

Participation & Social Representatives, on behalf of the Serpentine RC Committee

Submitted: 12 April 2020