Cumbrian Simon Lawson has claimed the bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games wheelchair marathon.

The Maryport athlete said he was proud and relieved to finish in the top three in Birmingham.

It is a second consecutive Commonwealth bronze for the west Cumbrian after he claimed the same medal on Australia's Gold Coast four years ago.

He held on to his medal hopes after an untimely puncture cost six-time Paralympic champion David Weir.

England's Johnboy Smith went on to take gold with Scotland's Sean Frame silver ahead of 39-year-old Lawson.

In the closing miles, the Cumbrian, who was born in Whitehaven, 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 in the T53/54 event.

“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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