The London Marathon – from 17 days to 1 day – My 2020 Challenge by Claire Lomas MBE

Introducing a good friend of the HSE People Network – Claire Lomas MBE

Claire’s life turned upside down on 6th May 2007 when she became paralysed from the chest down in a horse riding accident. Claire fractured her neck, dislocated her back, fractured ribs, punctured a lung and got pneumonia. Luckily the neck fracture didn’t damage the spinal cord but the dislocation to the vertebra T4 left her paralysed from the chest down.

Claire was a Chiropractor and top level event rider when this freak accident left her unable to do the things she loved. Although Claire was determined from the start to make the best out of the situation there were plenty of days Claire struggled to even get the motivation to get out of bed. She discharged herself from hospital after only 8 weeks, did a lot of rehab (and still does) and over time she found strength and courage to rebuild her life by finding new interests and work as well as raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for research.

 A year after her accident Claire met and later married Dan, they had a baby girl – Maisie. She found some new sports (skiing,handcycling, motorbikes), set up a business and fundraised to help get a cure for paralysis. Claire always says she feels so lucky to have the use of her arms, and seeing so many of the patients in the hospital unable to move at all gave her the drive to fundraise as much as possible.

 In 2012 Claire became headline news worldwide. She was the first (and only) paralysed person to walk the London Marathon, she did it in a pioneering robotic suit. It took 17 days and raised £210,000 for Spinal Research.  

She was then invited to light the Paralympic cauldron in Trafalgar Square.

On 13th May 2013 Claire completed her next challenge handcycling 400 miles around parts of England and visiting many schools along the way to do inspirational talks raising another £85,000.

 Claire has raised over £75,000 in 2014. She has done this by organising events, collecting at racecourses and events, from her book, school visits and an online auction.

 2015 was another incredible year for Claire and she reached her fundraising total of half-a-million on 18th October.

In 2016 Claire completed the London Vitality 10k in 12 hours, and completed the Great North Run in September whilst 16 weeks pregnant.

October 2017 Claire’s challenge was #10in24, with the aim to walk the 10 miles of the Great South Run in 24 hours, walking through the night which she completed with a few minutes to spare! Claire was awarded an MBE and had her second daughter.

2018 saw Claire smash her marathon PB … in 9 days and start her British Superbike lap challenge. Claire became the first paralysed female in the UK to get her motorbike race licence – a remarkable achievement as she had never ridden a motorbike before her accident.

In 2019 Claire has completed charity laps at the Bennetts British Superbike Series and is continuing to work hard with the aim of riding a charity lap of the TT Course at the Manx Grand Prix.

Claire’s fundraising total is now over £750k.

But guess what?… SHE WON’T STOP THERE!