Inspirational fundraiser Claire Lomas has begun her latest challenge — the Great North Run.
The former eventer, who was paralysed from the chest down in a cross-country fall at Osberton Horse Trialsin 2007, is walking the 13.1 mile route to raise money and awareness for the Nicolls Spinal Injury Foundation (NSIF).
Claire is wearing a bionic suit to walk the course, which runs between Newcastle and South Shields.
She began walking on Wednesday (7 September) and has been completing about three miles a day, visiting school en-route. So far, she has raised more than £10,400 on her JustGiving page.
“It will be a challenge, but I think that will bring the best out in me,” said Claire before the start.
“I have always wanted to do the Great North Run because it looks amazing, with a brilliant atmosphere.”
Those who have turned out to give their support to Claire include four-time Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah.
The mother-of-one was invited to take part in the event when race organisers at the Great Run Company heard that her entry to the Vitality London 10000 in May had been rejected. Vitality London did then offer Claire an unofficial entry to its race and Claire raised more than £12,000 for NSIF by completing the 10km route in one day.
The Great Run Company have given Claire an official entry with start number 2016. They have also devised a special route for her, starting parallel to the Great North start line and leading to the Tyne Bridge, where she joins the traditional route.
“Claire is an inspiration and we are absolutely delighted to welcome her,” said Great Run Company chief executive Mark Hollinshead. “Her enthusiasm, positivity and ‘can do’ attitude is both uplifting and infectious.”
- Claire Lomas raises more than £500,000 in mission to cure paralysis
- Claire Lomas completes 10km challenge
- Claire Lomas to take on the Great North Run
Her husband, Dan, and five-year-old daughter Maisie will also take part in the Mini Great North Run on Saturday (10 September).
Claire is set to complete the final mile of the race on Sunday (11 September) ahead of the 57,000 runners, live on BBC television.