Lawson 'relieved' as he claims wheelchair marathon bronze in Birmingham

·2-min read
Athletics - Great CityGames Manchester 2015 - Manchester - 10/5/15 
Great Britain's Simon Lawson during the men's wheelchair race in the Morrisons Great Manchester Run 
Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers
Athletics - Great CityGames Manchester 2015 - Manchester - 10/5/15 Great Britain's Simon Lawson during the men's wheelchair race in the Morrisons Great Manchester Run Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers

By James Toney in Birmingham

Cumbrian Simon Lawson admitted relief as he claimed Commonwealth Games wheelchair marathon bronze in Birmingham.

Four years ago, Lawson won the same medal on Australia’s Gold Coast, but he always knew this would be a tougher task.

On a twisting turning circuit around Birmingham, which included a series of punishing climbs, six-time Paralympic champion David Weir looked to be coasting to a comfortable victory.

But an untimely puncture with just six miles remaining ended his medal hopes, allowing England’s Johnboy Smith to take gold while Scotland’s Sean Frame and Lawson completed the podium.

In the closing miles, the 39-year-old Paralympian, who was born in Whitehaven, thought he might even have snatched a silver, temporarily catching Frame only for the Scot to overhaul him again.

“It feels so great to get a bronze, to back up what I did on the Gold Coast that’s pretty special and I’m just so relieved and proud,” said Lawson, after crossing the line in a 1:45.59, nearly five minutes behind Smith but just ten seconds off silver.

“I had second in sights, and I just got in there on the last downhill, but Sean was just too strong on that last climb, and he got it back. Fair play to him, he raced brilliantly for that silver and he's great guy.

“The course didn't really suit me perhaps I could have done a bit more work on the hills in preparation.”

Lawson is a former speedway champion who turned to wheelchair racing after being paralysed from the chest down in a crash in 2001.

He was supported by a big cheering squad from home and admitted some fortune to his podium place after Weir’s woes.

“Everybody gets a puncture some time in their career, it's just unfortunate when it happens at a big-scale event like this,” he added.

“David had the race in the bag, but it gave me another lease of life as I knew I was in medal contention.

“I had family and friends here and the crowd really helped, it made me dig in a bit deeper when things were getting tougher.”

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