Editor’s Introduction

Me and my Cabbage Patch pacesetter Fliss Berridge (left). Photo credit: Onyinye Nwulu

Like many of you, I woke up early on the 12th of October to see if Eliud Kipchoge could break the 2-hour marathon mark. To be sure, it was an orchestrated event with Kipchoge benefiting from the perfect weather, a flat course with few turns, cutting edge running shoes, and a team of world-class pacesetters blocking the wind for him, but despite this, it was incredible to see him cross the finish line with a time of 1:59:40. The image that sticks out most for me, is Kipchoge sprinting towards the finish line with arms outstretched and an elated smile on his face. Behind him the group of pacesetters who helped him through his final leg look just as exhilarated as he is. Even though Kipchoge ran at the pace necessary to achieve the goal, some think he couldn’t have done it without the pacesetters.  The pacesetters helped him grasp a result that, although he was physically capable of doing, he might have not been able to achieve on his own.

The very next day I ran the Cabbage Patch 10-miler with fellow Serpie Fliss Berridge. I don’t often run races with people, but for this particular race I wasn’t feeling confident that I could cover the distance. I thought running with someone would distract me from the miles ahead and the inevitable discomfort. As it turns out, my strategy worked. I finished the race in a time I was happy with. My legs carried me over the finish line, but I can say with confidence that I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the support of my friend running next to me. She helped me sustain the mental focus and positivity to achieve what I was capable of.

In this tenth issue of Serpentimes you will find articles to help you tap into your unrealised running dreams. For those who’d like to discover their inner cross-country racer, George Allan gives us a sneak peek into the Sunday League Series. Perhaps you’ve always imagined running on the track or throwing the discus for team GB. Let David Matthew’s article guide you through the exciting world of Masters Athletics. And since we’re talking about guides, check out Emily Jenkins’s piece on Achilles International UK, a group for runners with disabilities that often needs guide runners. In addition to these articles we also have James Edgar’s further adventures in buggy parkrunning, Sarah Maisey’s rumination on eco-friendly exercise, Owen Bowden Jones’s piece on his first Comrades race, former ex-Serpie Lynne Maughan’s article on returning to Serpentine, and Tom Poynton’s assessment of two books that could help you improve your training and recovery.

Thank you so much to everyone who helped our 10th issue come to life. The authors are credited at the ends of their articles, but there were many other Serpies involved who I would like to recognise. I am very grateful to my stalwart team of sub-editors Tom Bartlett, Michelle Homden, Kirsty Mansfield, Kim Nicholson, Luke Parker, and John Stoneman. Special thanks to Anoushka der Sarkissian who always puts my mind at ease by doing the final proofread of the articles. Thanks also to James Edgar for formatting the photos and Derry Lozano-Hoyland for managing the technical aspect of the site. The illustrations on our articles are done by Grace Mackintosh Sim; please check out her website. Finally, thank you to all those who contributed photographs.

I now present Serpentimes Issue 10!

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.