Introducing the Tour de Serpiesphere

Although it is still doubtful whether there will be any spring marathons in 2021, we have the next best thing lined up for you. Let us present – the Tour de Serpiesphere!

The Tour de Serpiesphere - Explained

The Tour de Serpiesphere is a series of virtual running races for Serpentine club members over the spring. The Tour consists of 5 stages, each one with a race period of a few weeks, and all the distances will add up to a marathon. In other words, you’re likely to know what your marathon PB could be if you were running a marathon in chunks.

Please note that you can run as many Tour stages as you like, there is no obligation to run in all 5. Participants can enter at any stage even if the preceding stages have already happened, although in that case obviously you will not have an official overall ‘marathon’ time at the end.

As you are running the races virtually, you will need to submit time and verification information for the Tour, in a similar fashion to the Serpiesphere Virtual 5k. There is a link to Serpentine website where you record your time. You’ll also need to submit a screenshot or photo of your time evidence (Strava/Garmin/your watch) via this link.

Race periods, lasting two to three weeks, generally start on a Saturday and cuts off on a Sunday night at 10pm (apart from the 5k at Stage 3, see below). The idea is runners can take advantage of weekends to run the best they can, although of course you can run at any time during the week.

Race periods of the Tour stages have some overlapping days, for example by the time the entry for Stage 1 ends, Stage 2 will have already begun (just think about the Green Belt Relay). The long race periods hopefully encourages more of you to participate. Please note that you will have to do a separate run for each Stage, so for example you cannot run one 10k during the overlapping period and submit an 8k time (for Stage 1) and a 10k time (for Stage 2) simultaneously.


The stages

The five stages are:

  • Stage 1: 8km – Winter is for Cross Country so why not start with the Met League race distance? Race dates: Saturday 23rd January to Sunday 14th February inclusive (Race entry information below);
  • Stage 2: 10km – We’ll move the distance up a little and go for a 10k.  Race dates: Saturday 6th February to Sunday 28th February;
  • Stage 3: 5km – And now we move the pace up a little and run a 5k.  Race dates: Monday 1st March to Monday 15th March (Note: this will coincide with Race 5 of the Serpiesphere Virtual 5k. Runners will only need to enter their time in the Serpiesphere Virtual 5k. We will then take the Serpiesphere Virtual 5k result for the Tour de Serpiesphere Stage 3);
  • Stage 4: 16km – Those hard 10 miles after you’ve reached halfway of a marathon? None of that here, fortunately. Enjoy being able to run these 16 kilometres afresh! Race dates: Saturday 13th March to Sunday 4th April;
  • Stage 5: 2 miles – 2 miles to go, who fancy a sprint finish? Note that this stage will be exactly 2 miles so that it is easier for our watches. If your watch is in metric please set it to 3.22km. Race dates: Saturday 3rd April to Sunday 25th April (rather fittingly, the cut off falls on the day the London Marathon would have happened if there wasn’t Covid).

After each stage, we will announce who the winners are (best men, women, and age-grading). By the end of Stage 5, we will add up everyone’s times over different races as their ‘marathon’ times. As well as overall ‘marathon’ winners, we will also compare your aggregate ‘marathon’ time with your real marathon Personal Best, and a prize will be given to the person with the biggest improvement over his/her marathon PB! Spot prizes are also given for race participation (see below for the Stage 1 spot prize). There will be more details on this as we move from stage to stage.


Stage 1 – Entry instruction

  1. Run 8km anytime on or before Sunday 14th February 2021. Just like Serpiesphere Virtual 5k, you can run on any route you choose, wherever you are in the world! We will however ask you not choose a route with a significant net downhill.
  2. Enter your time before 10pm on Sunday 14th February here: Click "self-add result" – the race date reads "23 January 2021" (which includes all 8km performances from 23rd January to 14th February). The race name is “Tour de Serpiesphere - Race 1” if you need to find it through the race list.
  3. Take a photo or screenshot that shows your time and distance. This can be a screenshot of your Strava / Garmin results page, or a picture of your watch. As long as the distance is a minimum of 8.00km (or 4.97 miles) and it shows a finish time, it will be accepted.
  4. Submit the photo or screenshot here - also before 10pm on 14th February (this link can also be found in the same page as the “self-add result” page). Click “Add Files”. 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).

After Stage 1, one lucky participant will be drawn among all racers to win a spot prize – which is either a Serpentine hoodie (appropriate for a ‘Cross Country’ race) or a £20 Serpie kit ‘voucher’ for you to spend.


Finally, some rules…

  • DO run according to the current restrictions regarding exercise.  You can run entirely on your own, with members of your household, or with one other person not in your household, but you must not run in a group.
  • DO respect social distancing guidelines. Please keep a safe 2m distance from anyone else during your run (even if this means compromising your race time by stopping, slowing, or running around others).
  • DON’T run if you have any symptoms of Covid-19, or if you should be self-isolating.
  • DO stay local – choose a location that is from, or close to, your home.

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

Any questions regarding the Tour de Serpiesphere, please contact Hans Ho, Serpentine RC Participation Representative. We look forward to seeing your performances and loads of aggregate marathon PBs!



The Tour de Serpiesphere Organising Team (Malcolm French, Frank Womelsdorf, Lee Tolentino, and Hans Ho)

Submitted: 21 January 2021