Serpentine - What’s Happening in September 2020

We may be saying a slow goodbye to summer 2020, but we at Serpentine are showing no signs of stopping having fun running.  Here is what’s happening in the Club in September… 

Annual General Meeting

Our Annual General Meeting will be held at 7pm on Monday 14th September. Due to Covid restrictions, instead of our usual venue near Marble Arch, this year’s AGM will be held on Zoom – details will be provided in due course.  The AGM is obviously very important for the Club, as aspects of how the Club is being run, committee reports, accounts, and the selection of Honorary Officers and Committee Members, will be discussed and presented.

All members are welcome and encouraged to spare an hour or so to dial in. Interested in joining us? Please pre-register your attendance by emailing our Honorary Secretary Sue Barty at, with the subject line “SERPENTINE AGM”. Although not compulsory, it will make things easier for registering attendance and for sending out the Zoom call details. Thanks to everyone who have got in touch with your questions for the Committee – we look forward to discussing these issues that evening. Anyone else with questions? Please email these to Sue as well.


The Autumn Virtual 5k series

What a summer we have just had with the Serpiesphere Virtual 5k Lockdown Championship! I know you miss our weekly 5k. With our Lockdown Champion (and also our Honorary President) Hilary Walker safely tucked away her winning trophy, we are beginning a new series of virtual handicap races. Starting from this coming weekend 5th/6th September, a race will run every fortnight (i.e. cut-off every two weeks) until Christmas. Just like the Lockdown Championship, it will be a championship series with points awarded on a similar basis. There's more information on

Club Runs – Every Wednesday and Saturday

Since the start of July, we have been running our two-parks and three-parks routes together in Central London, every Saturday morning and Wednesday evening. For more details please follow this link. With the current guidance of not exceeding six people in a group, we require runners to sign up in advance, so you can be placed in groups running the same route and similar pace. But don’t worry, once you’ve signed up you won’t be turned away – if more people than six are in the same pace group, we’ll just split into further smaller groups. Please follow these links to sign up: 

These links are also available on the front page of our website. Our brilliant club run representatives (Branwen Jones and George Allan) will then email everyone before the runs to inform you of the groups and start times.  Please feel free to email me for further details.

Note that at the moment we are starting from the Hyde Park Bandstand, but we are currently making plans to resume using Seymour Centre as our base. More on this later in this email.


Training sessions – in Real Life!

Since the start of July, we have resumed the following training sessions all across London, so you can take advantage of the ones near your doorstep, but of course everyone is welcome to attend any session. Please remember all sessions must be pre-booked prior to attending – no book no play! For the moment, all sessions are in groups of six (including the coach). Groups will be split up if more than five people sign up, unless otherwise stated.

  • Tuesday evenings: Interval sessions at Bermondsey Spa Gardens.  Details and sign-up please follow this link on the website. Any questions:
  • Tuesday evenings: Track sessions at Parliament Hill.  This session is primarily for our faster runners (time guidance: sub 36:30 (men) or sub 38:30 (women) for a 10k). Currently the track has not been reopened, therefore the meeting point is at the path right by the track but just outside. Sessions are mainly on the path loop of 600m and multiples (or fractions!) of it.  Any questions please ask the coach: David Chalfen.
  • Thursday evenings: Hill Sessions at Primrose Hill. Details can be found via this link. Booking and enquiries with the coach: Andrea Sanders-Reece.
  • Saturday mornings: Hill sessions at Hampstead Heath. Details and booking via this link on the Serpie website. Enquiries:
  • Saturday mornings: Hill sessions at Greenwich Park. Details and booking via this link on the Serpie website.


Zoom Training sessions

Although we haven’t yet been able to restart the Paddington Rec track sessions and the regular Wednesday spin, we are continuing to run the following sessions:

  • Our Paddington track coach Andy Reeves has been leading a circuit training session on Wednesday evenings since April. Although this is aimed at 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.
  • 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:


Zwift Weekly Team Time Trial

Calling all Zwift enthusiasts out there – we continue to field teams for the Zwift Team Time Trial every Thursday evening, just like every week since April. We currently run teams of varying levels including a beginner’s non-drop team, high level mixed teams and ladies-only team. We compete against over 500 teams every week. It's very social, a lot of fun and, well, addictive. So if you have access to Zwift and are free on Thursday evenings, please join us using this link to find out more. Once you have joined, the team can help set you up to race. Please email me for any queries.


Good Luck if you’re doing…

Remember a time when there were such things called races, where people chase each other on a specific route? With Covid restrictions easing and governing bodies like Run Britain publishing guidelines for road races to take place in a safe environment, real life races are on again. We know of the following races in the London area – please following the links below for details and latest race entry availability. So I wish you the best of luck if you’re running:

Worth checking out the RunThrough website for other races outside of London and beyond September as well.

For the triathletes, you have the following races to negotiate in September. Good luck for those competing:

  • 5th/6th September – Box End and Helvellyn
  • 12th/13th September – Dorney Lake, Blenheim, and Cotswold
  • 20th September – Cotswold 113
  • 26th/27th September – Hever Castle


Fundraising campaigns – Help Our Club post-Covid!

You might have noticed that we are currently running a couple of fundraising campaigns for the Club. These campaigns came out of two things during the Covid pandemic – (i) the loss of income due to the suspension of club organised races and membership fees for three months, and (ii) a number of people generously asked us how they could contribute to the club to offset these losses. We therefore have two separate fundraisers to cover both the senior and junior sections of the club, with very specific aims.

  • Fundraisers for seniors – this fundraiser aims to raise money to train up new coaches, run and cycle leaders, athletic officials, and race organisers. Needless to say having more members trained up is the best way to ensure we continue to have training sessions and races. More on this further in this email. Please follow this link if you’d like to help us out:
  • Fundraisers for juniors – One of the slightly less known fact of Serpentine: since its establishment in 2014, our junior section has gone from strength to strength, and we currently have over 70 junior members. However, as the squad grows, the costs of being able to provide quality coaching and training does so too. This has been particularly felt with Covid restrictions in place, as juniors are now training in smaller groups and more sessions are needed. All funds raised will go towards providing more coaching sessions, extra essential equipment and being able to fund competition entry, expenses and membership costs to those children whose families are currently going through hardship. Please consider donating via this link:

A huge thank you to our members who have reached into their pockets so far. We’d also like to thank those who have commented on these campaigns and contributed to the discussions. As we explained previously, there is no obligation to donate, but any donations will be very much appreciated. We will write to all members again over the coming months regarding how much money is raised and how we expect to spend it.


Race organisers, run/cycle leaders, officials and coaches

As I just mentioned, one of our fundraising campaigns is about getting more members to become race organisers, run/cycle leaders, coaches, and officials. With the resumption of club activities in the summer, we are looking for more members interested in becoming qualified to facilitate our sessions or competitions. Since the start of the Covid crisis, we have identified coaches and officials as an area on which the club needs to improve, if we are going to meet a continual need of training sessions and races. For example:

  • Our races, virtual or real life, have required officially trained race directors for the events to take place. This is a position which we have a clear shortage.
  • Although currently there are Serpentine training sessions all across London, with more people working from home and staying local, there is a demand to have more sessions organised locally – that means we need more coaches.
  • The same goes with club runs. As well as the usual two and three parks, there is a possibility of having more locally organised runs. More run leaders are therefore needed.

We are hoping that with funds raised in our current campaign, we will be able to fund members for the training of these positions, as long as there is a commitment to help the club once qualified. If you have ever thought about helping the club whilst obtaining additional skills and doing something fun, now is the time! Please feel free to get in touch with me for further details.


And finally…Seymour reopening – coming soon!

With the Seymour Leisure Centre having recently reopened, we are now taking steps to plan for the resumption of our Club Run operations at our normal home. I know we have grown to love the Bandstand, but with cooler temperatures becoming inevitable and night falling earlier after our evening runs, we can all do with a bagroom and having warm clothes to wear afterwards. We can also restart distributing club kit. Once we have worked out exactly how we maintain social distance and make the environment safe, we will announce when our return will be – currently expected to be from later in September or early October. We are now seeking volunteers to help guard the bagroom when we resume using Seymour. Those who can help please email our interim Covid coordinator Liz Ayres, who will advise on procedures.


Happy running in September!

Hans Ho

Participation Representative (


Submitted: 16 September 2020