Serpentine RC - What’s Happening in July 2021

The England fans among the Serpies are saying “football’s coming home”, but our Italian, Spanish, and Danish members will also have something to say this week! Later in the month we will be glued to the Tokyo Olympics.  Here in Serpentine, the championship and Olympic feeling is not just confined to our television – our July highlights feature competitions such as the club championships, the inter-club Southern Athletics League, and Summer League. The Serpiesphere 5k also continues, so are the club runs and training sessions. We in the Club promise you a fabulous July whichever country you come from!

The Serpentine Grand Prix Club Championships

The Serpentine Club Grand Prix is a series of races with trophies for the male, female, and age-graded winners of each race. There are four races: a 1-mile track race, a 3k track race, a 1k race in Hyde Park, and a 5k race in Battersea Park. These races are organised by the club volunteers exclusively for you, our members. All abilities are welcome – these races are for the fastest, the slowest, and all runners in between!

With Covid-related social distancing measures continuing to be in place, we require runners to sign up before the races. Unfortunately by the time of this newsletter, it is too late for you to sign up for the 1 mile race on Monday 5th July.  However, there is still time to sign up for the following:

Sign up for 3km - Monday 12th July - Battersea Park (track), 7:30pm

Sign up for 1km - Saturday 17th July – Hyde Park (Rotten Row), 9:00am

Sign up for 5km - Thursday 22nd July - Battersea Park (park), 7:30pm

For further race details, please see the Club Championship page on our website. We need volunteers to stage these races – some roles require qualifications, others don’t. Please email Malcolm if you can volunteer. Please see the section about volunteering at the end of this newsletter as well.


Summer League – Regent’s Park 10k on 25th July

The Summer League took a break from real-life racing in 2020 but, subject to the relaxation of social distancing currently planned by the UK Government on 19th July, it will be back with three races in Summer 2021.

The first race will be a 10km race on Sunday 25th July in Regent’s Park. We will update you during the month if it is necessary to sign up in advance, together with other race details. Also in the race calendar are the 5-miler on 15th August in Dulwich Park, before we host the last fixture on 22nd August in Battersea Park (10k). We will require volunteers to help stage the event – again please see the volunteering section at the end of this newsletter.  Finally, we are currently thinking about organising social events for club members after the races – runners and non-running members alike are welcome to join.


Serpiesphere Virtual 5k – the Summer Series continues!

We continue to run our Serpiesphere Virtual 5k despite the resumption of real life races – this race is a very good way to get some speed running to supplement your training, or get yourselves prepared for the real-life races coming up. We also like the fact that we have kept our out-of-London members engaged whilst having something that everybody can win! But just be aware that you should enter a time that you’ve run outside of a real-life race – fine if it is a 5k running on your own or with friends, or a segment of a longer run, but it must not be part of a real-life organised race. 


We hope to have more of you logging your 5k time twice a month. All members are welcome, whether you have entered previously or not (first-timers will be scratch runners, meaning you won’t win the first time, but if you make enough improvement next time you can win!). Race 3 of the Summer 2021 series started on 1st July and will finish at 10pm on 15th JulyRace entry link is here.  Please email our Serpiesphere Virtual 5k organiser Sophie Taylor.


Capital Ring Runs – Join us for the next run on 11th July!

The next stage of our Capital Ring odyssey across the London suburban greenery will be on Sunday 11th July. Our run will be approximately 13 miles (21km) from New Beckenham Station to Wimbledon Park. We have had some great runs so far in both previous stages in May and June, with about 25 to 30 Serpies of varying abilities joining each time and almost everyone ended up in the pub. This time will be no exception – we have already booked an area in a pub near the finish! The runs are wonderful occasions whether you’re training for a marathon and want some distance, or if you want to run at a chatty pace (I will be in that group!) whilst exploring some areas of London you’ve not been to before. We also operate a run/walk group.


Please put your details down via this link if you want to join us. As our runs are scheduled to take place every few weeks until mid-September, please contact me for any questions or if you want to get involved, e.g. helping with navigation.


Club Runs – every Wednesday and Saturday

Our Club Runs have made a successful return since the end of March, and more and more members signed up to run, so please keep coming! For more details please follow this link. We continue to run our two-parks and three-parks routes every Wednesday evening and Saturday morning (look at us taking a breather outside of Buckingham Palace), but we are looking into changes in order to adapt to the easing of social distancing rules.


We currently require runners to sign up in advance, so you can be placed in groups running the same route and similar pace. Please follow these links to: 

These links are also available on the front page of our website. Our club run team will then email everyone before the runs to inform you of your groups and start times.  Haven’t run before and don’t know your pace?  Not to worry – choose the 10-12 min/mile pace or “Run & Talk (Beginners)”, or get in touch with Sid and he will help you.


Other group sessions – Running Training, Swimming, Zwift

In July we continue to have the following run training sessions across different London locations, so you can take advantage of the ones near you, but of course everyone is welcome to attend any session. Also please remember all sessions must be pre-booked prior to attending.

  • Monday Paddington Track: This foundation track session is for those whose 10k time is about 48 minutes or more – a great workout to raise your pace to the next level. Details and booking via this link on the Serpie website.
  • Tuesday Intervals: Evening interval sessions at Bermondsey Spa Gardens.  For details and sign-up please follow this link on the website. Any questions:
  • Tuesday Parliament Hill Track: Evening track sessions at Parliament Hill – see this link. This session is primarily for our faster runners (time guidance: sub 36:30 (men) or sub 38:30 (women) for a 10k). Any questions please ask the coach: David Chalfen.
  • Tuesday Paddington Track: Our track coach Gavin Edmonds is coaching this popular session at Paddington Recreation Ground Track in Maida Vale. It is suitable for everyone whose 10k time is from 33 to about 50 minutes. Details and booking via this link on the Serpie website.
  • Thursday Sprints: Also in Paddington Recreation Ground Track in Maida Vale, all abilities including those new to sprints are welcome. Details and booking via this link on the Serpie website. Enquiries: Athletics lead.
  • Saturday Hills: Hill session at Greenwich Park. Details and booking via this link on the Serpie website.


Since June we have made a successful return to swimming, with Serpie coached swim sessions at not one but two pool venues! Places are available on a first come first served basis. To sign up, please email our trialthon rep Anne Bennett indicating which session you would like to sign up for, and whether you would like to sign up for another venue if your first choice is not available.

  • Orchard Lisle Pool, Guy’s Hospital, London Bridge - Monday evenings, 8.30-9.30pm, starting Monday 7th June. Cost: £90 for a block of 10 sessions
  • Pancras Square Leisure Centre, St Pancras - Wednesday evenings, 8.00-9.00pm, starting Wednesday 9th June. Cost: £90 for a block of 12 sessions


Our regular Zoom circuit and spin training sessions continue in July:

  • Andy Reeves leads a circuit training session on Wednesday evenings. Everyone is welcome to join. Look out for the Facebook messages by Andy before Wednesdays for the Zoom link and details.
  • Rosh Karunaratne runs the 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, and a computer to run Zoom. Please email Rosh to join.


Finally, we are fielding teams in the Zwift Team Time Trial every Thursday evening, competing against over 500 teams every week. 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.  We also have other group rides mainly on Saturday mornings but sometimes at other times of the week as well. Feel free to find our discord channel called #meetup to join. For all things Zwift, please contact our organiser Vinh Lam, or email me if you want to join.


Upcoming Track & Field Meets

The second Southern Athletics League (SAL) meeting will be on Sunday 11th July at Uxbridge track. The track events range from 100m to 3000m (women) and 5000m (men), plus hurdles and relays. The field events include high, long and triple jumps, pole vault, and also throw events like hammer, discus, javelin, and shot putt. Any standard is welcome – you never know what you could be good at until you try it. It is also a very sociable event. The event details are here.  Note that we are in the London North West Division.

We need two men and two women competitors as scorers for each event and we can have as many non-scorers as we like (within reason) for track events and limited to 1 non scorer for throws, so you can try out other events. We would love to see some of our U17 and U20 young athletes competing as part of our team too.  Please make sure if you have your England Athletics licence up to date for the 2021/22 season – check on SerpieBase to see what your status is.

Please contact Rhi Needham if you want to take part. We also need to provide officials for the field and track events. If you're an official and haven't done so already, please also contact Rhi for details or if you can sign up to help. Non-qualified helpers are also very welcome to come along.

Finally, a reminder of the dates of the other future athletics meets:

  • Southern Counties Vets:
    • Wednesday 7th July – Perivale
  • SAL:
    • Saturday 14th August – Perivale
    • Saturday 11th September - Parliament Hill 
  • Rosenheim:
    • Wednesday 21st July – Croydon
    • Wednesday 18th August – Kingsmeadow, Kingston
    • Wednesday 1st September – Walton-on-Thames


Charity places available for these two upcoming races

Fancy running these two upcoming half marathons for charity? Now you have a chance:

  • Running for Silverfit in the Vitality Big Half Marathon on Sunday 22nd August.  You have probably heard of Silverfit through its founder Eddie Brocklesby, a Serpie life member and also the UK’s oldest female Ironman athlete. The charity is dedicated to promoting happier, healthier ageing through affordable physical activity and at the same time combating social isolation. If you want a place through Silverfit, please follow this sign up page. Donations can also be made via this page. Any questions, please email Silverfit.
  • Running for Muscular Dystrophy UK in the Royal Parks Half Marathon on Sunday 10th October. Set up in 1959, the charity has provided help and support for those suffering from muscle-wasting conditions, which currently affect over 70,000 people in the UK. To register for a place with MDUK, please follow this registration page. The registration fee for an individual is £29, minimum sponsorship is £350 – these can be adjusted for group registration.  Please email the MDUK representative with any questions.


And finally… a new way to find out about volunteering!

The increasing number of events we organise means we need more volunteers. Whenever we speak to members, everyone is very enthusiastic about volunteering, but members don’t always know what events require volunteers for what roles. In an attempt to resolve the visibility issue, we have created a new Upcoming Volunteering Opportunities database – click here for the link.

In this database, you can see what events and roles require volunteers. Wherever we can, we try to estimate the correct number of volunteers and describe what roles are needed. This includes whether qualifications are needed or not.  Therefore:

  • If you are available to volunteer for a particular role – please email me, and I will update the database.
  • If your events require volunteers – please also email me with the roles required.
  • Also – email me with any suggestions / questions regarding this new system too.

The current database shows that volunteers will be needed for various roles for the Grand Prix races and also the Summer League race which we will host on 22nd Aug.  Interested in these roles?  Email me now!


Have a great July!

Hans Ho

Participation Representative

Submitted: 4 July 2021