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'Bionic' woman faces Great North Run challenge

A paralysed woman who completed the London Marathon in a “bionic” suit has set her sights on completing the Great North Run.

Claire Lomas, from Leicestershire, will be the first person to take on the Great North Run using a robotic suit.

She will begin the event on Wednesday, five days before the run starts, and complete the final mile on Sunday.

Mrs Lomas, a former event rider, was paralysed from the chest down in a riding accident in 2007.

She broke her neck, back and ribs and punctured a lung when her horse threw her off as she took part in the Osberton Horse Trials in Nottinghamshire.

She said: “Training has been challenging so I am actually just ready to give it a go now.”

The 36-year-old will begin her 13.1-mile challenge from Claremont Road in Newcastle, adjacent to the official Great North Run start line, and finish at South Shields, with the aim of completing three miles a day.

In 2012, Mrs Lomas completed the London Marathon in last place, but inspired many people with her courage and determination.

Writing in a blog she said: “My accident was an eventing accident. Horses take up your life. I’d just got to the highest level in the sport about eight months before and it was such a big loss for me.

“But as much as I loved it, it stopped me doing other things so since then life has opened new doors for me.

“I always wanted to do the Great North Run because it looks amazing, with a brilliant atmosphere.”

During her five days on Tyneside, she will be talking to children at school assemblies along the route, who will also join her for sections of the walk from Newcastle to South Shields.

Great North Run chief executive, Mark Hollinshead, said: “Claire is an inspiration and we are absolutely delighted to welcome her. Her enthusiasm, positivity and ‘can do’ attitude is both uplifting and infectious.”

Mrs Lomas is raising money for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation which funds research into treating paralysis caused by spinal cord injury.

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BBC Sport – Athletics

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