Claire Lomas Wins Pride Of Sport Award

Inspirational fundraiser Claire Lomas has won a Pride of Sport Award for her awe-inspiring Great North Run when she walked the world's biggest half marathon over five days.

37-year-old Claire, from Leicestershire, was paralysed from the chest down in a riding accident in 2007 but in 2016 she became the first person to complete the Simplyhealth Great North Run using a bionic suit.

Claire was 16 weeks pregnant at the time and completed three miles per day in the revolutionary Rewalk suit before crossing the finish line on the same day as 57,000 others.

She bravely battled the elements, morning sickness sores and fatigue to complete the event, inspiring thousands of people on her journey from Newcastle to South Shields.

Claire has managed to raise over £600,000 for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation through her challenges since she was left paralysed 10 years ago and has since been awarded an MBE for her fundraising in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.

The Daily Mirror's Pride of Sport Awards, in partnership with TSB, celebrate unsung sporting heroes including people who have overcome huge challenges just to make it to the start line.

Claire will receive the award for Disabled Sports Person at the star-studded awards dinner at Grosvenor House in London on Wednesday 22 November.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted to have won this award and it makes me feel very proud.

“I am so grateful to everyone who has helped me during the past ten years to help me achieve things I never thought I would.

“Completing the Simplyhealth Great North Run is one of the things I never thought would be possible when I first had my accident and I hope that others see my story and decide they can give things a go even if they aren't the fastest.

“I am so thankful to the Great Run team, ReWalk and all the people who supported me through my five day walk.”

Claire, who is mum to Maisie, six, and ten-month-old Chloe, has rebuilt her life since the accident, discovering new sports, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for spinal injury research and becoming a motivational speaker.

This year in October, she completed her toughest challenge to date by walking the Simplyhealth Great South Run in Portsmouth over 24 hours.

She walked the 10 miles overnight, with no sleep and stopping only for short breaks before crossing the finish line on Clarence Esplanade a day later.

Claire is able to move in the Rewalk suit by using it's motion sensors and tilting her pelvis, but the equipment still poses a huge challenge to her.

She is supported on all of her challenges by her husband Dan, who walks the entire way behind her.

Claire added: “I had no choice with what happened to me. You have a bit of a choice in how you deal with it, but it wasn't without dark days.

“Everyone thinks that the these events are a huge challenge, but just getting out of bed when you've got nothing to get up for was a lot harder.

“Rebuilding my life was the darkest time and the hardest time. Now I'm in a better place, I've got two little girls, it's very different.

“If I can help one person then it's a brilliant feeling. I feel in a fortunate position to be able to do that.

The 2018 Simplyhealth Great North Run will take place on Sunday 8 September. 

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