Serpentine - What’s Happening in May 2020

Hello Serpies,

There is no denying that the ‘Lockdown’ due to the Covid-19 pandemic has been hard for everyone. Club members have been ill due to the disease; the NHS and key workers among us have been battling hard to keep everyone going. As a Club we are abiding by social distancing rules, so we cannot function with group activities as we do normally. But that doesn’t mean we have stopped! Far from it – I actually cannot believe how much we have been doing in April. I am proud of the Serpie community which has regrouped and maintained contact throughout this period. And we seem to be doing more than other clubs! So, whilst hoping to get back to normal soon, please click above to find out what we have planned for May.

Serpiesphere Virtual 5K

Since Easter, we have been holding a club handicap-based Virtual 5K race every week. The rule is simple – run a 5K between Saturday morning and Friday midnight, time yourself, and submit your time with evidence. We will then tally up all the times on a handicap basis, so everyone has a chance to win. Each Saturday we announce the winner of the week. We will hold this race as long as social distancing rules apply – and possibly beyond!

The race is open to all members, so please join the 150 or so who have already submitted times. It is not called Serpiesphere for nothing – you can run anywhere in the world. We have already received results from Ireland, Spain, France, Austria, the Netherlands and Hungary, as well as all the beautiful parks in London and other parts of the UK. You can keep up with your running whilst having a way to compare your performances week-in week-out – even better if you end up on our weekly Virtual Podium!

Please click here to submit times for this week (which runs until 23:59 on Friday 8th May), and click here to upload your time evidence, or any scenic photographs from your run! Please also remember the social distancing rules which can be found here.

Training sessions (on Zoom or on your own)

Although we can’t train physically together, our coaches (or members who are coaches/instructors) have been working hard to arrange a few training sessions for everyone either on Zoom or on a personal basis:

  • Our Paddington track coach Andy Reeves is leading a circuit training session every Wednesday - 6pm one week, 7pm another week. Although this is aimed for 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.
  • Andrea Sanders-Reece continues to lead the Thursday night Primrose Hill session – virtually. Every week she posts a workout for all to follow on Facebook. Now you don’t need to be at Primrose Hill – you just need to find an undulating and socially-distanced area to do a few reps of hill running.
  • Katia Hadaschik and a new member Elena Richter (Welcome to Serpentine!) are offering weekly Pilates classes to all Serpies. The classes will be on Zoom – Elena’s on Monday afternoons from 6pm to 7pm; Katia’s on Wednesday mornings from 7:30am to 8:30am. They ask for a voluntary payment of up to £10 per session if you are on a full or reduced salary, but you can join for free if you work for the NHS, as a volunteer, or if you have lost your income during this time. Please email Katia and/or Elena to join – they will give you details of the sessions (including Zoom links) and some consent forms to sign.
  • Rosh Karunaratne will be running 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” WhatsAapp group here:
  • Finally, our junior coach Rachelle Dinsdale is doing a few circuit-based sessions on Zoom every week: typically 11.30am on Sunday, 6.30pm on Tuesday and Thursday. The sessions were originally set up for our very dedicated junior athletes, but she is now opening up for Serpies of all running abilities. For safeguarding reasons, please email her or Liz Ayres so she can arrange the right time slot for you to join. The sessions are great if you’re coming back from injury or physical rehab – she can offer alternative exercises suitable for you. It’s worth looking out for session details, Zoom link and password on Facebook during the week.

Feel free to email me to find out more about these sessions.

Zwift Team Time Trial (Weekly)

One thing that has certainly gained popularity since the ‘Lockdown’ is doing a bike ride or race on Zwift. This involves riding your bike in your living room, whilst connecting with others and being transported to a virtual world, anywhere from New York’s Central Park to the French Alps . There are loads of Youtube videos showing what such a race looks like, an example is here.

Vinh Lam has been entering at least one team (sometimes two) of Serpies every Thursday for the Team Time Trial. Those who are interested please click here to join the Serpie team. The link will take you to join the ‘discord’ where you can communicate with everyone else in the team. Those who have already done it have really enjoyed riding together and sharing banter at the same time. Please email me for any queries.

Other virtual races / events

Virtual racing has totally sprung up in the past couple of months. Among the whole virtual racing scene, these ones in May are worthy of mention. You can obviously do a 5K run and submit the same time for these races as well as the Serpiesphere Virtual 5K:

  • Fancy racing the world? The Virtual 5k World Championship is for you. Open from 1st to 15th May. It is free to join; a small fee to pay if you want a medal or T-shirt.
  • Or do you want your 5k run to be dedicated to a particular continent? Join the Sri Chimnoy Virtual 5K weekly series in May. There is a race every Monday (like the normal Sri Chimnoy race). Race and time submission are between 5pm and midnight on race day. Pre-registration is required but it’s free to enter. The next race on Monday 4th May is dedicated to the great continent of…Antartica; the race for Europe is the last on Monday 25th May.
  • The VE Day Bank Holiday Weekend from 8th to 10th May will see the Virtual Spring 10k, 5k and 1k Challenge taking place. You pay a fee but you’ll have a medal posted to you for your effort.
  • Last but by no means the least, our very own Liz Ayres and Anna Harding are leading the charge in the Indoor Relay. The relay started on midnight Saturday 2nd May, and will be on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until the ‘Lockdown’ is over. You run within your home for an hour – be it around the sofa, your dining table, in your garden or drive, or treadmill if you have one. By doing this you can raise money for some amazing charities which need your support during this difficult time. Please feel free to contact Liz or Anna if you want to know more.

Social events

  • “Social Wednesdays”: Originally started with the Last Wednesday of the Month Zoom Social in March, due to popular demand we have extended to most Wednesday evenings, just to recreate a bit of the Seymour Club Room magic in the comfort of your dining table. We’ll announce in advance on Facebook if a Wednesday social session is going ahead. In case of a large number of people joining, we will do ‘Breakout Rooms’ so everyone can chat more easily while enjoying their own wine and cheese. We also have plans to start running virtual pub quizzes during some of these sessions too. We will share the Zoom link on our Facebook group closer to the time. Feel free to ask our Social Rep Sarah Maisey if you’re interested.
  • Serpiesphere Café”: This takes place every Saturday at 11am now instead of our post-handicap coffee in the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen in Hyde Park. We catch up, we chat, and we announce the latest Virtual Podium from the Serpiesphere Virtual 5K of the week. Again the Zoom link will be shared via Facebook messages and by email, normally the day before.


Virtual events don’t always need to get physical (sorry Dua Lipa) or allow others to see your home via Zoom. There are plenty of things written by the Serpies for you to read, both on running and on wellbeing.

  • Serpentimes: Now already on Issue 11, our online magazine is going from strength to strength, with plenty of great running articles being presented under the brilliant editorship of Diana Valk. Issue 12 is currently under production – feel free to get in touch if you want to contribute.
  • Serpies Covid-19 Wellbeing blog: The Serpie Mental Health Champions have shared their stories of isolation, anxiety and laughter during this surreal period in a new blog. A new entry every Wednesday coincides with our usual club night, featuring a different guest blogger each week. Any Serpie wanting to contribute with a blog entry, or just wishing to connect for a chat, are welcome to get in touch – please email

Finally…Serpie WhatsApp Groups

Since the coronavirus outbreak, we have set up 5 WhatsApp groups (according to geographical locations), in order to provide a practical support network for all club members, their family members or anyone in need. We also share local and club news – it has been useful to a lot of us to find out about local restrictions.  

Although the groups cover different corners of Greater London, we are not prescriptive - join as many of the groups as you wish. Add yourself via the links below.


Wishing you all a safe, healthy and active May!

Hans Ho

Participation Representative


PS – I have mentioned our Facebook group many times but I’m aware not everyone is on it.  If you have not joined yet please do so, all Serpentine members welcome:

PPS – Any other activities or sessions you want to share? Please email me.

Submitted: 2 May 2020