Claire Lomas prepares to do a marathon in a day
When Claire Lomas was paralysed after falling from her horse during an eventing competition she never believed that one day she would be roaring around Snetterton race track on her own.
But last week the 41-year-old, who lives at Eye Kettleby, did just that as she spent a day at the Norfolk circuit on a motorbike - the sport which since her accident she has tackled with passion.
She said: “After being paralysed from the chest down I never believed I’d be able to do this but I love nothing more than getting on the bike and having a blast. It was something I’d never tried before but the guys at Snetterton have been great and I’m excited to have a track day there.”
So close to Claire’s heart is motorcycling that she has decided to make it front and centre of her bid to complete this year’s London Marathon.
It will be one of her biggest challenges yet as Claire attempts to complete the 26-mile course in one day wearing motorcycle leathers, helmet, gloves and boots and pushing herself in her wheelchair. It will be so restrictive that Claire likens it to pushing through mud.
She walked the course in 2012 wearing a pioneering robot suit but because it took her 17 days to complete she didn’t qualify for a medal.
She raised more than £200,000 towards research for a cure for paralysis and was later rewarded when 18 competitors offered to give her their medals instead.
Claire will tackle the challenge this October for Whizz-Kids, a charity which transforms the life of disabled children across the UK. It provides young wheelchair users with vital mobility equipment, opportunities to meet and have fun and training to help them develop vital skills so they can look forward to a brighter future.
It has raised £22 million to transform the lives of young people with disabilities since 1990.
Claire added: “I hadn’t planned on doing it again but the London Marathon awarded me a Spirit of London award guaranteeing me entry into the 2020 race. I know how hard it is to get in so I couldn’t turn down that privilege. I am hoping to complete it in one day but with the added weight of the motorcycle gear, helmet and boots, it isn’t going to be easy. Before it got cancelled last year I had got up to 13 miles.
“I think it will depend on a lot of things, temperature especially. It is 50/50 I will be able to do it all. I’d love to finish when the crowds are still there and get some of the atmosphere I missed last time.”
Claire had reached the highest level in eventing when she hit a tree at Osberton Horse Trials in 2007. She said her life shattered into a million pieces. She was worried about finding love and having a family but met husband Dan Spincer a year later and they now have two girls aged 10 and four.
She said: “After the accident I had to start again and one of the things that has really helped me to feel free again has been going out on the bike, my husband lifts me on and away I go around the track, it has given me so much that I wanted to give myself a major challenge and incorporate it into my marathon bid.”
Whizz-Kidz still has a few places left for this year’s London Marathon to join their team visit www.whizz-kids.org.uk by August 20.