Serpentine - What’s Happening in June 2020

Hello Serpies,

I am glad that we in Serpentine have weathered the Covid-19 crisis pretty well. Although there have been cases of infection and some of us have had a hard time financially and emotionally, as a Club we have been able to maintain our physical activities, mental wellbeing, and most importantly our community spirit. The situation is very fluid, and we continue to follow the guidance of England Athletics, so we expect changes to our activities in due course. But for what we know now, here are our races, events, and sessions in June 2020.

Latest England Athletics’ Guidance

Although the lockdown restrictions seem to be easing, we are still guided by England Athletics’ advice. Their latest statement on Covid-19 can be found here (last updated on 26th May). On 1st June, EA provided further guidance for the latest restricted return to activities. We will announce in due course as to when and how club activities are safe to resume.

Serpiesphere Virtual 5K

Since Easter, we have been holding a handicap-based Virtual 5K race every week for all Club members. It has proven to be immensely popular in the past 8 weeks, with over 80 entries every week, and 180 people have entered so far. 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 there is a different winner each week – the next one will be announced this coming Saturday (i.e. tomorrow!).

It is not called Serpiesphere for nothing – you can run anywhere in the world. We have already received results from different parts of Europe and America, as well as all the beautiful parks in London and elsewhere in the UK. Please click here to submit times for this week (which runs until 23:59 on Friday). 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.

Serpie Virtual Duathlon

Following the huge success of the Team Marathon in April, all Serpies are invited to take part in a Virtual Duathlon over this weekend 5th to 7th June, either individually or as a team of two or three, splitting the legs however you choose. The event consists of a 5km run, a 20km bike ride and a 2.5km run. Participants may complete each leg separately in their own time over the 3 days, or one leg immediately after the other without worrying about transitions (which won’t be timed). For safety reasons, the bike leg must be completed on an indoor turbo (hence NOT outdoors), however there is no obligation to use Zwift – any turbo / indoor bike setup that registers time and distance will suffice. Running can obviously take place outdoors – and feel free to submit the same 5K time for the Duathlon as well as the Serpiesphere Virtual 5K (results to be entered separately).

Race details including how to enter your time and result verification are here.  Remember that participation is at the individual's own risk and social distancing guidelines need to be respected. You can also do the bike leg on Zwift together at 9am on Sunday 7th. If you have any queries about the race or want to find a team to enter, please email our organiser Anne Bennett.

Grand Prix Club Championships – starting in June

Every summer we organise the Grand Prix Club Championships, so this year will be no exception – the races will just be held on a virtual basis during designated ‘race weeks’. We will announce the exact dates and details in due course. As usual, there will be Club Championship races for 1K, 1 mile, 3K, 5K, 10K and half marathon (Note: Decisions on the 10K or half marathon will be made later this summer. Either the Middlesex 10K and/or the Maidenhead Half Marathon will go ahead as normal, or the races will be held virtually). You will hear more about the Grand Prix this month – the first race is due to happen later in June.

Summer League – Think Virtual

Although the actual Summer League fixtures have been cancelled due to the pandemic, it doesn’t mean the London running community has forgotten about this great event. In fact, the organisers have just announced three virtual fixtures on the following dates:

  • 1st fixture: 10km, between Monday 8th and Sunday 14th June
  • 2nd fixture: 5miles, between Monday 13th and Sunday 19th July
  • 3rd fixture: 10km, between Monday 10th and Sunday 16th August

Time submission cut off is 5pm on Sunday of each race week. In keeping with the Summer League’s family-friendly spirit, anyone under 15 can also submit results for a 1 mile distance in each race week. Also, the Summer League can NEVER be without a 400m sprint relay after the main race, so please also feel free to submit a time (senior or junior) for your 400m sprint if you want to take part in the relay.

Click here for details on how to submit main race and relay results, along with pictures of your virtual picnic (hopefully with cakes!).

Other Virtual races

Here are some of the external virtual racing highlights in June. For 5K virtual races, you can obviously run once and submit the same time for these races as well as the Serpiesphere Virtual 5K:

  • Sri Chinmoy races: After the 5K series in April and May, in June there is a 2-mile race every Monday. Check out details here.
  • Orion Harriers John Clark Memorial Fell Race: Haven’t done a fell race for a while because you have only been allowed to run near home? This annual fell race in Epping Forest is on – and in the actual location! For those who are able to come to Epping Forest, join this classic fell race over the weekend of 12th to 14th June. You can choose to run any time over the three days. The trails will be marked before the race and checked and topped up each morning. The route is a little longer than 5km and is shown here. Bring your own post-race refreshment and remember social distancing rules. There will be further communications on how to submit your results next week.
  • Nice Work Midsummer Challenge: Over the weekend of 20th and 21st June, you can run these virtual races over a whole range of distances – 1k, 5k, 10k, and half marathon. Finishers will get medals for their effort. Sign up here.

Training sessions (on Zoom or on your own)

Although we can’t train physically together, our coaches 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 has been 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.
  • From 2nd June, Andy has also led a new Tuesday night running interval session. It will involve a Zoom warm up, a set interval session that people do on their own, finishing with a Zoom cool down.  Perfect if you have a track which you can access safely, or on roads if you can measure distances. All members are welcome to join. Look out for the Facebook messages by Andy before Tuesdays 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.
  • 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” WhatsApp 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)

Calling all Zwift enthusiasts. Since April, Vinh Lam has been entering two or three teams 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.

Social events

  • As usual now for most Wednesday evenings, we have been organising Zoom Socials, just to recreate a bit of the Seymour Club Room magic in the comfort of your dining table or sofa. We will share the Zoom link on our Facebook group closer to the time if they are going ahead. Also, there has been a virtual pub quiz every couple of weeks and these quizzes are always good fun to join. Feel free to ask our Social Rep Sarah Maisey if you’re interested in joining, or hosting a quiz night!
  • 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.


Wishing you all a safe, healthy, and active June!

Hans Ho

Participation Representative

PS. Please get in touch with me if you have anything you wish to advertise in July.

Submitted: 5 June 2020