Editor’s Intro: Serpies During Lockdown

A common sight from lockdown: the Zoom call.

What a funny time this has been. As I write this, one hundred days have passed since lockdown began and we are approaching July forth, christened Super Saturday by some MPs as it is the day pubs and restaurants can reopen for indoor service in England. When I think back over my lockdown life it seems almost like a fading dream – car free roads, Thursday night clapping, suddenly audible birdsong, stoic queues outside of the grocery stores, daily health briefings by the government, an explosion of Zoom calls, phone calls, and WhatsApp groups, long formless days on furlough, and lonely runs with a focus on keeping a social distance from my fellow pedestrians  – all of this during the most sublime spring weather we’ve seen in years. Now things are getting back to normal (unfortunately, even the weather is getting back to normal) and I feel a mixture of trepidation and hope as I look towards our new post-lockdown world.

Until a vaccine is found, it’s hard to see a place for the enormous, bustling races of the past. It even seems unimaginable to hold our relatively small Last Wednesday of the Month cheese and wine nights where in the carefree pre-Covid world we would pack the club room with sweaty runners and casually grab fruit, carrot sticks, and crisps from communal plates. So, what will the future look like for sporting events and the club? In this latest issue of Serpentimes we revisit the lockdown and highlight some of the ingenious ways club members dealt with the experience. On reading these articles, it becomes clear that people are amazingly adaptive and imaginative. Although we’ll miss some ways of the past, one can’t help but be optimistic that we’ll be able to adjust and create something different, but still wonderful for the future.

Issue 12 of Serpentimes has seven articles to entertain and inform you. Hans Ho writes about our new favourite club event, the weekly Serpiesphere 5k and Phil Bradburn introduces us to some of the club members who took virtual sporting events to the extreme. Michelle Homden looks at what people lost and found during lockdown and Mental Health Champion, Fliss Berridge, encourages us to all be kind to ourselves and others in order to foster connections. Rounding out this issue Isaac Leigh reviews Running with the Kenyans, Keith Evans recounts his “run ins” with the famous, and I interview Mr. Serpie Trails himself, Alan Hall.

Although lockdown provided some of us with more free time, for others it was an intensely busy period. Either way, I’m sure for all of us it presented some unique stresses and strains, so I want to sincerely thank everyone who helped pull this issue together. The authors are credited at the ends of their articles, but there are many others who I would like to recognise. Big thanks to a super team of sub editors: Tom Bartlett, Daisy Gladstone, Kirsty Mansfield, and Luke Parker.  As always, I am grateful to the wonderful Anoushka der Sarkissian who carries out the final proofread on the website. Gratitude and congratulations are due to James Edgar for editing the photos for this issue right after he and his wife welcomed their new baby. Last, but definitely not least, thanks to Derry Lozano-Hoyland for his technical wizardry and Grace Mackintosh Sim for her illustrations.

I now have pleasure in presenting Serpentimes Issue 12!

Diana Valk has been a card carrying Serpie since she moved to London from the U.S in 2012. When she is not running, she is thinking about bioarchaeology, Spanish verb conjugation, or the next book on her reading list.