Claire Lomas completes London Marathon 16 days after everyone else — a wonderful victory for a paraplegic!

Claire Lomas with her hubby, Dan Spincer after crossing the finish line
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Paralysed woman Claire Lomas finally finished the London Marathon today, 16 days after the race began, completing the course with the aid of a bionic suit.

Ms Lomas has walked around two miles a day of the 26.2-mile route, cheered on by husband Dan, mother Joyce and 13-month-old daughter Maisie.

The 32-year-old, from Eye Kettleby, near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, was left paralysed from the chest down following a horse riding accident in 2007. But despite this she set off on April 22 with 36,000 people participating in the marathon. As she crossed the finishing line on The Mall today, she became the first person to complete any marathon using a bionic ReWalk suit…

A number of celebrities have also lent their support by walking a mile alongside her, including TV presenter Gabby Logan and husband, former international rugby star Kenny, and TV presenter and adventurer Ben Fogle.

But Ms Lomas will not appear in the official results or qualify to receive a medal when she finished as competitors have to finish the course on the same day to qualify for a medal…

The £43,000 ReWalk suit she used for the marathon, designed by Israeli entrepreneur Amit Goffer, enables people with lower-limb paralysis to stand, walk and climb stairs through motion sensors and an onboard computer system.

A shift in the wearer’s balance, indicating their desire to take, for example, a step forward, triggers the suit to mimic the response that the joints would have if they were not paralysed.

Bravo. She’s my hero of the race. I’ve only heard little bits about Amit Goffer’s project; but, of anything comparable, he seems to have delivered a practical device.

We must hope that insurance plans will cover similar devices for the many paraplegics confined to wheelchairs – or less mobility than a wheelchair can provide. We are a mobile species – regardless of politics and economics.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

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