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Saturday, 02 August 2014

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Cumbrian Paralympics hope Simon Lawson eyeing Swiss success

Wheelchair racer Simon Lawson hopes to tie up a place in the Paralympics next week – by setting a new personal best for the marathon in Switzerland.

Simon Lawson photo
Simon Lawson

The Maryport ace planned to already have secured a place in the Games this summer but had to miss his chance of posting a fast time in the London Marathon after falling ill ahead of the race.

And instead he watched on TV as British No 1 David Weir, the only man ahead of him in the domestic rankings, bagged his place in the Great Britain team.

“You need a time of 1 hour 40 to be eligible for selection and I have done that,” Lawson said. “If I go 1 hour 35 or quicker I should be okay.

“I did 1 hour 36 last year, and if conditions are all right I should be okay on the day.

“Switzerland is pretty hilly, but it should be fairly flat as the race is around a lake.

“If weather conditions are really bad and everyone has a slow time, they will take in to consideration your position in the race. I think I should be all right for a good time.”

The 29-year-old, paralysed 11 years ago when he came off his moto-cross bike during a practice session, had his first wheelchair race in September 2009 and has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the sport. “I just did it to keep fit and active at first,” he said.

“I got in touch with Ian Thompson, husband of Tanni Grey-Thompson, who is now my coach, and he entered me in to my first race. I used to race moto-cross and I was on the start line again, and getting the adrenaline going.

“I’ve been racing since I was eight-years-old, and it has always been there.”

If he qualifies for the Paralympics, Lawson will face a formidable challenge, not least from Weir, whose win in the London Marathon was a record-equalling sixth in the capital.

“Just getting there is a big goal, and we’ll then see what happens on the day,” Lawson said.

“I would want to be up there with the front guys.”

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