9 May 2012

Marathon effort for 'bionic' woman

10:35 pm on 9 May 2012

A paralysed British woman has become the first person to complete a marathon in a bionic suit, taking 16 days.

Claire Lomas was in tears but said she was "over the moon" as she completed the London Marathon in the special suit which mimics the response the wearer's joints would make if they were not paralysed.

Hundreds of people lined the streets and three mounted members of the Household Cavalry gave the 32-year-old a guard of honour as she finished the course on The Mall in central London on Tuesday, the ABC reports.

Ms Lomas, a former chiropractor from Eye Kettleby near Melton Mowbray, who was left paralysed from the chest down following a horse-riding accident in 2007, said there were times when she questioned whether she could finish the race.

"Once I started, I just took each day as it came and every step got me a step closer," she said.

She walked about 3km a day, cheered on by her husband Dan, their 13-month-old daughter Maisie, and her parents.

Claire Lomas will not appear in the official results and did not receive a medal when she finished, as competitors have to complete the course on the day of the race to qualify for a medal.

But a dozen other runners in the race have given her their own medals in recognition of her achievement.

Ms Lomas, who now works as a jewellery designer, raised £80,000 for Spinal Research, a charity which funds research to develop treatments for paralysis caused by a broken back or neck.