London, 27th May, 2016: Following on from the success of her challenge in 2012 (walking the London Marathon in 17 days) Claire Lomas is set to take part in the Vitality London 10,000 on 30th May 2016. Claire who was initially denied entry to the race by event organisers, has seen their decision to rule her out completely, overturned.
Claire, who is paralysed from the chest down, will require the help of a ReWalk suit. This led to her originally having had her entry to the Vitality 10,000 denied by event organisers due to the IAAF, UK Athletics and IPC rules, which dictate that motorised assistance is not permitted.
Despite the official rules, Claire had decided to go ahead with the challenge without an official place – by following the Vitality London route. She had set up a JustGiving page and text number (LEGS60£5 to 70070) to gather support for her challenge which quickly raised just over £9,000 for her chosen charity, the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation (nsif). Messages that were left on the page showed great support for Claire’s challenge and people urged her not to let the lack of a formal place deter her from walking the race.
After further discussion, organisers at Vitality 10,000 have welcomed Claire and are happy to allow her to be an unofficial entrant to the race. Claire will begin the route at 5am from The Mall on Monday 30th May and hopes to complete the race in just one day. Organisers have said they will provide a finish for her and a medal should she manage to complete the course.
Claire commented that she was thrilled by the organiser’s decision:
‘I am pleased to say he has agreed to let me be part of the race- although an ‘unofficial entry’ but will start me at 5am and make sure a finish is up for me if I make the 10k. He is even arranging someone to walk with me so they can let me know when I can go on the roads and when [I] need to be on the pavements. I can’t believe this but- he also said if I complete I will get a medal!!’
Claire’s personal best was set during the London Marathon 2012 at a speed of 2.25 miles per day.
This is the latest in a long line of incredible fundraising feats by Claire on behalf of nsif. Mike Milner, CEO of nsif, welcomed the decision:
‘From the outset Claire has approached this challenge as she approaches every challenge – with tenacity and an abundance of positivity. She has continued to work hard to train for the event which will take an enormous amount of strength and determination for her to complete.
We are very pleased that the event organisers have granted Claire unofficial entry to the race and are working with her to create a safe and enjoyable day, we anticipate this being a positive experience for all involved.’
This will be one of the most gruelling challenges that Claire has taken on to date. The ReWalk suit will help move her legs, but Claire does most of the hard work. With no sensation below her chest, Claire cannot feel the road beneath her, meaning she will have to concentrate fully on her footing as well as the physical exertion of moving the suit. It also means that she has difficulty keeping her core upright, and this is something that the suit cannot help with.
ReWalk, the company who produce the suit, have generously pledged to sponsor the costs of this challenge.
About Claire Lomas
Claire Lomas is a former event rider who suffered a spinal injury and became paralysed from the waist down in 2007. Claire checked herself out of hospital early and set about raising money for research into finding a cure for spinal injury. In the last 9 years, Claire has raised over £0.5 million for research into spinal cord injury. She memorably walked the London Marathon in 2012 in 17 days and has undertaken many other fundraising challenges.
nsif became Claire’s chosen charity after she met the charity’s founder, David Nicholls, and discovered the exciting progress scientists funded by nsif were making.
More information can be found on her website: http://www.claireschallenge.co.uk/
nsif is a charity devoted solely to research into treatment for spinal cord injury. It was set up by David Nicholls following an accident that left his son Daniel Nicholls paralysed at the age of 18.
It funds the OEC transplantation project led by Professor Ying Li and Professor Geoffrey Raisman at University College London’s Institute of Neurology. It also funds Dr. Pawel Tabakow, a leading surgeon at the neurosurgery department of Wroclaw University Hospital, who is translating the UCL team’s work into a clinical procedure.
In March this year, Dr. Tabakow announced the recruitment of more patients to take part in the clinical research project. Details can be found on this website: https://walk-again-project.org/#/en
For more information visit the website: https://www.nsif.org.uk/
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