Renowned campaigner and fundraiser Claire Lomas will take another step on her inspirational journey by competing in this year’s Great North Run with the assistance of a bionic suit. Claire will set off on Wednesday 7 September and cover around three miles per day, finishing off with a final mile on Sunday 11 September in front of thousands of supporters on The Leas.
In 2007, Claire suffered from a horse-riding accident that left her paralysed from the chest down. Five years later, the 36-year-old made headlines as she became the first person ever to complete a marathon wearing the revolutionary ‘Rewalk’ – Claire finished the 32nd Virigin London Marathon over the course of 17 days with the help of the robotic suit.
Since then, she has raised more than £500,000 for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation, and now has set her sights on the South Shields race: “I’ve always fancied doing the Great North Run and I was thrilled when the organisers invited me to take part, having heard I had been turned away from other events.”
Claire revealed that her accident has allowed her to explore avenues that she wouldn’t have foreseen while competing in horse-riding: “I’d just got to the highest level in the sport about eight months before and it was such a big loss for me.
But as much as I loved it, it stopped me doing other things so since then, life has opened new doors for me. I’ve done the London Marathon four years ago but I always wanted to do the Great North Run because it looks amazing, with a brilliant atmosphere.”
To welcome Claire to the race, event organisers The Great Run Company have given her the number 2016. Chief executive Mark Hollinshead said he was thrilled that she will take part: “Claire is an inspiration and we are absolutely delighted to welcome her. Her enthusiasm, positivity and ‘can do’ attitude is both uplifting and infectious. She will be guaranteed the warmest of receptions in her latest challenge at the Great North Run.”