Former event rider Claire Lomas is calling on the equestrian community to support an online charity auction ahead of her second London Marathon.
Claire, who was paralysed from the chest down in a cross-country fall at Osberton Horse Trials in 2007, will take on the London Marathon on 3 October pushing herself in her wheelchair while wearing full motorcycle leathers, boots and a helmet. In 2012 she completed the marathon over 16 days while wearing a bionic suit.
Claire is raising funds for disabled children’s charity Whizz-Kidz and aims to complete the 26.2 miles in one day. She had been due to take part last year but the event was cancelled owing to the pandemic.
“I was given a guaranteed place in the 2020 marathon through the London Marathon Spirit of London Award which gives 20 places to those with different stories to tell. I know how difficult it can be to get a place so I knew I couldn’t turn it down,” she told H&H.
“It’s going to be tough but I’ll definitely get there. I can get going reasonably well in training but then I put all the gear on and with the helmet it’s so heavy so I don’t know how many hours it’s going to take. I’ve been training up and down my drive which can be quite tedious going back and forth.”
As part of her fundraising for Whizz-Kids Claire will hold an online auction starting the week of the London Marathon until 4 October. Donated lots include a complete showjump with fillers, horse feed, a holiday in Austria, flying lessons, and a cross-country schooling day.
“Already the equestrian community has been so supportive, as it always is, but I’m hoping we can get some more donations. We have five weeks to drum up as many items as possible so we’re looking for some top riders to offer lessons, equestrian gear we can auction or tickets to an event,” said Claire.
“I’m raising money for this brilliant charity that helps children with disabilities and shows them they can live good lives and become confident adults. It also helps get them mobility equipment – lightweight wheelchairs can cost £4000-£5000 and these children deserve the best equipment that makes their life easier. Some children want an Xbox, but for these children they want a lightweight wheelchair.”
As well as Claire’s fundraising efforts, she holds motivational talks and two days before the London Marathon she will return to Osberton for the first time since her accident to speak at a business lunch.
“It’s going to be quite strange. I think it will make me think back to that day and how my life changed, but equally that day has led to a lot of new doors opening to me,” she said.
“I love doing the public speaking. I never would have imagined doing it before my accident, it would have been my worst nightmare. I’m also planning to visit schools to talk to disabled children about abilities; I found since my accident I have more abilities than before – I’m taking part in my second London Marathon, I‘m training to become a pilot and I ride my motorcycle on track days. I think it’s about focusing on what you can do. Hearing from the children and how they have benefited from the charity will be really nice to hear before I’m pushing round the marathon.“
If you are interested in donating a lot to the auction contact Claire on firstname.lastname@example.org
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