We’re just a few days out from the start of the 6-stage relay season, and I’m really hoping that we’ve assembled a team strong enough to really compete on the national stage.
The Lincoln lads have always had the potential to do something special, but for some reason or not we always fall short on the day. Like any team we can be affected by injuries, illnesses, and people out of form; but unlike most we have a few characters who are, how can I put it nicely? Unpredictable.
However, the past few months have been promising and we’ve almost got six guys in 30 minute flat 10k shape, so this is surely our year? It’s got to be.
I tell you what, how about I give you a little run down and insight into my thoughts on our six:
I’ll start with Shane Robinson, a perennial in the LWAC fold, who is probably the most unpredictable of the lot. The boy can run under 14:20 for 5k on the roads of Armagh in February, but can’t break 8:30 for 3000m on the track in the middle of Summer. He’s been hugely progressive in recent months and was last seen running 30:30 at the BMC in Manchester over 10,000m. He did get a bit tired over the final furlong at the relays last season, but the ground is likely to suit him at the Etihad and he could well be prominent in the latter stages this year. Very difficult to catch right, either winning or (more often) unable to finish.
Next, in line is Tom Straw, a 26-year-old who is undoubtedly the class of the LWAC team and has never looked better. After winning on his last two outings over 5,000m he could make a statement as a potential LWAC GOAT on Saturday. If there is a rabbit in there to chase, he will certainly run well. Perhaps, the only thing you can say against him is his tan is starting to fade slightly and this may affect him mentally, especially if the going is soft. A dab hand over shorter distances, he will be primed for such a test.
The new kid on the block is Lucian Allison, who led from start to finish at Grimsby in July. He could well give a bold show from the front, but he did pull up at the Northern 12-stage last year after missing a turning. Bought by the team’s owners just last year, he is now carrying over two stone less than when he joined the stable. It’s been over a century since an athlete born in Grimsby has won a relay medal, which could well change come 4pm on Saturday. A classy and consistent performer who will go off hard and with the pace.
It’s been over a century since an athlete born in Grimsby has won a relay medal, which could well change come 4pm on Saturday.
Joe Wilkinson should make a return to form after an indifferent spell of late. He seems to enjoy a rest, and ran strongly last winter after a break, but this is a tough comeback. An athlete who appreciates soft ground, he won by 62 lengths in the annual West Common tempo a fortnight ago in those conditions. Very talented at best, his trainer joked in the Yarborough hut on Tuesday night that nothing could outsprint him. He will want to swerve the sun if he is to be competitive here.
Brother to Tom, James Straw, is a very smart performer and could well be good value considering the short distance behind Lucian last time out. Missed out at the Northern’s last year due to illness, but is widely respected and has an excellent record in Manchester. A fiery character out of the box, if he gets out well he should hold his form all the way to the finish. Most definitely suited to drying, firm ground, he could well be the toast of hostelries in Lincoln on Saturday evening.
Finally, there is Aaron Scott, the elder statesman of the team following the loss of Matthew Bowser. Always a strong performer in the relays, it is hard to see him not running well. However, he is better suited to longer tests of endurance and the 6k course may hamper his efforts to get in amongst the front runners. The little athlete may also struggle with the hustle and bustle of the pack, but expect him to come into his element as the race unfolds. Appeared to have lost his way after London in April, but he wouldn’t be the first runner his coach has rejuvenated for relay season.