Local athlete Simon Lawson made his competitive return to action at the weekend, coming second in the wheelchair race at the Great North Run.

Maryport-based Lawson, a Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, completed the race in 51 minutes and 20 seconds, just over a minute behind winner Sean Frame.

Discussing his preparations for Sunday’s event, Simon said: “Early on in the year I was in hospital with some kind of infection that the doctors couldn’t figure out and it took around five months for me to get fully back to 100% health wise so that really affected my training and preparation.

“In the last four weeks I’ve been building up my mileage and strength and working hard to be back to full fitness.”

Due to his health issues and the hampered training regime, the 39-year old’s expectations going into the race were fairly low, making the end result even more impressive.

When asked if he thought he could catch up to eventual winner Frame, Simon continued: “When he made his first attack on the hill at just after the 5K mark I thought, ‘it’s okay I’ll get that distance back on the flat or downhill’, but it didn’t happen. He pushed a great race and kept extending his gap all the way to the finish, a well-deserved winner.

Sunday’s classification matched the experienced marathon racer’s highest finish, where he secured a second-place finish behind David Weir at the same event in 2015. He claimed a bronze medal in the T54 marathon at the Commonwealth Games in Australia’s Gold Coast in 2018, crossing the line just behind compatriot John Smith.

Following on from the result, Lawson is focusing on a gruelling schedule. Speaking about what is to come next for him, Simon answered: “This was my first race in nearly two years, so it was good to get back out there. I’ve got a busy six weeks coming up with Berlin and London marathons back-to-back and then it’s both the Boston and New York marathons so it’s back in to racing with a bang. Hopefully I can get some good results in those races in order to qualify for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.”