Inspirational Eye Kettleby mum Claire Lomas described finishing the Great North Run in her robotic suit as being ‘far and away her hardest physical challenge’ yet.
Claire (36), who was paralysed from the chest down in a riding accident in 2007, set off on Wednesday and after a gruelling five-day journey along the 13.1-mile course she crossed the finish line on Sunday.
Walking three miles a day, from Newcastle to South Shields , he strode step by step with the help of her husband, Dan, and was cheered on by five-year-old daughter, Maisie.
And with just a mile to go before reaching the finish line Claire announced she was 16-weeks pregnant.
Four years ago Claire famously completed the London Marathon in her motorised ReWalk suit in 17 days. The £43,000 suit enables people with lower-limb paralysis to stand, walk and climb stairs through motion sensors and an onboard computer system.
But she said her Great North Run was ‘much harder’ than her 2012 marathon effort. Claire told the Melton Times: “I was so relieved to see the finish, there were times I thought I wouldn’t make it. It about killed me to be honest!
“Unfortunately my training didn’t go to plan because I’m 16-weeks pregnant. I had a lot of morning sickness so I couldn’t get in the suit which made it even tougher. The lead-up was somewhat stressful and very difficult.”
Claire battled the heat, the hilly course and sores caused by straps from her suit rubbing, which needed a trip to A&E for a dressing, but she kept going to reach the finish.
Among those to congratulate Claire was double Olympic champion Mo Farah who had been introduced to her at the hotel they were staying at and who spoke to her after the race which he won.
Claire has raised £20,000 from the run for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation. She is a patron of the charity which is committed to funding research and development into curing spinal cord injury.
Claire has already raised more than £540,000 for the foundation. Congratulations also go to Claire’s daughter, Maisie, who raised £250 for the foundation by completing the Mini Great North Run. Proud mum Claire added: “Maisie is so excited about me being pregnant. She keeps asking how long it will be for the baby to arrive!”
For more information about Claire’s incredible fundraising efforts and how you can give your support visit http://www.claireschallenge.co.uk