Share

Paralysed marathon entrant will finish race today in bionic suit

Claire Lomas with her daughter Maisie
News

Paralysed marathon entrant will finish race today in bionic suit 1

Fundraising | Niki May Young | 8 May 2012

Claire Lomas, who was paralysed from the chest down in a horse riding accident five years ago, is to finish her London Marathon today after 16 gruelling days walking the route in a bionic suit.

Despite her heroic efforts which have raised over £85,000 for Spinal Research so far, Claire won't receive a medal from the Virgin London Marathon team or appear on the official results table due to rules specifying that competitors must complete the race on the same day.

Her mission has seen support from some of the UK's greatest athletes, with four-times Olympic Gold Medal winner Sir Matthew Pincent writing a message of support after walking some of the route with Lomas (see thumbnail 1 below). Former tennis ace Tim Henman, Seb Coe, Claire Balding, Ben Fogle and Gabby Logan also joined the line-up of celebrities walking with Lomas.

32-year-old Lomas was injured in a horse riding incident in 2007, colliding with a tree and suffering a T4 spinal injury leaving her paralysed from the chest down. She is completing the 26.2-mile route with the help of an exoskeleton ReWalk suit, developed in the US and being trialled internationally. The suit costs approximately $50,000, for which Lomas has been raising funds herself. She has seen wide support in doing so and has set up her own jewellery design business to add to the funds. 

Lomas, who has a one-year-old girl, Maisie, took her first steps in the ReWalk suit on 23 January. She completed 2.25 miles on her first day of the Marathon, cheered on by the crowds. Despite encouragement to forgo the rules and award Lomas a medal, the Virgin London Marathon team is to stand by its cut-off times which it says "are in fact generous compared to most other races".

The organisers met up with Spinal Research informing them of the policy before Lomas' entry was accepted, a spokesperson for the Marathon said.

"Finisher medals will be given only to finishers who cross the finish line in the Mall up until 6pm on raceday, that is 8 hours 15 minutes after the mass start at 09.45am," they advised.

"This is not a just a question of runners who are in the 'slow' category.  Each year we have hundreds of runners who drop out of the race during the day because they feel they are unable physically to continue. On some occasions they then wish return the next day and complete the course for their own satisfaction. They are in the same position as a slow runner who completes only part of the course on the day and then returns later to finish.  We have no way of verifying that they have in fact completed the event.

"In addition, we are only able to take responsibility for the health and welfare of people who complete the event on the day.  We cannot say that a competitor is still officially competing in the London Marathon the day after unless we are also able to take responsibility for ensuring their safety and wellbeing (providing water, health care etc) and this we are unable to do after the medical and other volunteers are no longer there."


You can show your support by donating through Lomas's JustGiving page.

 

Barbara
8 May 2012

Chapeau bas for this brave woman! What a spirit, WHAT A SPIRIT!
But organisers are probably right too so let's celebrate her name outside the marathon framework. Let's hope for more people like her, courage and spirit, unbelievable!

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

CFG spends three-quarters of free reserves on restructure

21 Aug 2014

Charity Finance Group raided its free reserves to the tune of £187,510 last year to carry out a change...

Uniformed youth groups benefit from £10m in bank fines

21 Aug 2014

The Scouts and Guides are among those who will benefit from the new £10m Uniformed Youth Social Action...

Awema charity boss claims he paid back £100,000 and denies dishonesty

21 Aug 2014

A former charity boss accused of fraud said he paid back more than £100,000, and denies any wrongdoing,...

Jersey charity pilots free healthcare programme for the poor

21 Aug 2014

A Jersey charity launched a free and subsidised healthcare programme yesterday for people on low incomes....

Awema charity boss claims he paid back £100,000 and denies dishonesty

21 Aug 2014

A former charity boss accused of fraud said he paid back more than £100,000, and denies any wrongdoing,...

Big Society Network parent charity applies to wind itself up

20 Aug 2014

Society Network Foundation, the charitable parent of Big Society Network, has applied to Companies House...

Macmillan: We did not hijack #icebucketchallenge

21 Aug 2014

Macmillan has hit back against accusations on social media that it has hijacked #icebucketchallenge, saying...

Smart wristbands aim to increase charity giving

20 Aug 2014

A new wristband that will enable people to make faster donations with just a tap of a smartphone, is...

National Trust to develop new website in £2m digital upgrade

15 Aug 2014

The National Trust has budgeted £2m to update its digital services, including a new website and mobile...

Join the discussion

Twitter button

@CSFundraising