Tuesday, 01 December 2015

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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.”



Do you feel safe going to football matches?

1: Yes - there is hardly any trouble compared to the bad old days

2: No - sadly you will always get idiots who spoil if for rest

3: Depends - some clubs' fans are far worse than others

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