Claire Lomas is taking on her second marathon this spring.
The former eventer, who was paralysed from the chest down in a fall at Osberton Horse Trials in 2007, will be walking the Manchester Marathon on 8 April wearing a robotic ReWalk suit.
Broadcaster Vassos Alexander, who provides the sport news on Chris Evans’ BBC Radio 2 weekday breakfast show, has chosen Claire to join his #dontstopmenow team, which is made up of 10 inspirational people taking part in the marathon.
“I can’t believe I’m doing another marathon,” Claire told H&H.
“I have been wearing the suit a lot to do talks, but I haven’t been doing any long distances in it.
“I hand-cycle to keep myself fit, I have quite a strict exercise programme, so I do feel pretty fit.”
Claire made history in 2012 when she became the first person to walk the London Marathon route wearing a robotic walking suit.
Since then, she has taken part in numerous gruelling challenges to raise money for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation (NSIF).
These include walking the Vitality London 10000 route, the Great North Run and the Great South Run. She has also obtained a licence to race motorbikes and hand-cycled around the UK.
The mother of two has already raised a total of £620,000 for the NSIF through her challenges and inspiration talks, and hopes to raise a further £10,000 for the charity through the Manchester Marathon.
An online auction is set to be launched in March, with prizes including days at Mary King and Carl Hester’s yards, tickets to the UK’s major international horse trials, plus Hiho Silver jewellery and riding kit.
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“People have been really generous,” added Claire. “I’m so grateful for the support I have.”
She added the support of the equestrian community helped pull her through the dark days after her accident and she finds it still helps her during tough parts of her challenges.
“NSIF has just started a clinical trial and that is what the money raised is helping fund,” said Claire.
“They had really amazing results in a clinical trial in Poland [in 2012] and have two more planned — if we see similar results, hopefully that will open up a lot of doors.”
To donate, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lotsofsmallsteps
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