After a glorious, uncharacteristically summery summer, autumn is now upon us. The leaves are changing colours, conkers litter the pavement, and there is a distinct crispness in the air. It’s this time of the year, when the nights are drawing in and the temperature is dropping, that many people begin to feel less motivated to get out and train, and more interested in curling up on the sofa with a large plate of comfort food and a crime drama to binge-watch.
When you’re injured or recovering from injury, like me, these inclinations toward hiding away all winter are even harder to fight. I initially found myself avoiding the club runs because I thought being surrounded by Serpies enthusiastically training for races would make me feel excluded. This Saturday I bucked these tendencies and ventured out to the Handicap. Contrary to what I thought, running and chatting with the Serpies didn’t cause me to brood on my injury, in fact it lifted my spirits. It’s times when I’m facing hurdles that I come to appreciate the magic (to borrow Sid Wills’ phrase) of a running club. We are brought together by a love of physical activity, but we’re held together by the strength of our social interactions and the inspiration we gain from one another when we see things from a different angle.
Issue 7 of Serpentimes is designed to derail your plans of hibernating all winter. With articles that put you in the running shoes and cycling cleats of your fellow club members, it’s my hope that this issue will inspire you to not only stay active through the cooler months, but also get to know some of your fellow Serpies. If ever there is an article that will spur you to sign up for some events and continue training on those cold autumnal evenings, it’s James Edgar’s Desert Island Races. Helping you see things from a new viewpoint, Tom Bartlett reflects on what it’s like to run with Type I diabetes, Kim Boursnell describes the view from the back-of-the-pack, and Sarah Jackson chronicles her journey from foot fracture to the 305 km Dragon Devil cycling race. We also have articles that highlight the benefits of working together with others in the club to achieve a goal like cycling across America or breaking a world-record in relay running. Are you looking for opportunities to get to know your fellow Serpies face-to-face? Participate in some trail runs, book a place on the Serpie trip to Lanzarote, chat with one of the Mental Health Champions, or even nab a club member at the pub and ask them about their tattoo. Finally, turn to Tips from the Top and the book reviews to see what you can learn from other runners when you pick their brains.
This issue wouldn’t be here without all the Serpies who volunteered their time to write and edit. The authors are acknowledged at the end of their articles, but I would like to extend thanks to our wonderful sub-editors: David Campbell, Daisy Gladstone, Michelle Homden, Kirsty Mansfield, Kim Nicholson, Luke Parker, Anoushka der Sarkissian, and John Stoneman. Thanks also to James Edgar for formatting the photos and answering my publication questions. Derry Lozano-Hoyland manages the technical aspect of the site. Grace Sim does our illustrations; please check out her website. Thanks, as always, to those who contributed photographs; they truly enhance the magazine.
Kick off your trainers, put your feet up and enjoy Serpentimes Issue 7.
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.