When Claire Lomas completed the Great North Run in her now famous “bionic suit”, it was hailed as one of the most incredible sporting achievements of 2016.

Claire made headlines across the world after successfully completing the course over five days and capturing the imagination of the nation.

A year on, one of the UK’s most inspiring athletes has now stretched the boundaries of what is possible even further by completing the Great South Run in a single day.

Paralysed from the chest down in 2007 as the result of a riding accident, Claire has no sensation below her chest.

Speaking before her attempt at the Great North Run, she outlined just how tough a challenge events like these are in a suit that requires both physical and mental strength.

“It’s taken some learning,” she said. “It’s not just physical work, it’s the concentration with every step. It doesn’t just walk for me. I have to use the parts that aren’t paralysed to make it walk.”

In a year that has already seen her celebrate the birth of her second child – with Claire struggling to train in the run-up to the Great North Run as a result of morning sickness – the Leicestershire-born pioneer was straight back in training for her toughest challenge yet.

It’s just the latest in a series of astonishing feats she has embarked on since breaking her neck, back and ribs in a fall at the Osberton Horse Trials a decade ago.

Since 2012 Claire has been raising money for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation.

She was introduced to David Nicholls – who son had been paralysed 10 years before – after completing the London Marathon that same year.

Claire shared David’s determination to find a cure for paralysis, something that would effectively make the “impossible possible”.

Now she is working tirelessly to try to help that dream become a reality, with her astonishing fundraising total of more than £575,000 helping scientists to make fresh breakthroughs that would have been unthinkable not too long ago.

With the London Marathon and Great North Run already safely completed, last month she completed the 10-mile Great South Run in 24 hours, her first non-stop endurance event.

She said: “My accident was 10 years ago in May. When I think back to that first year or two I would have loved for someone to tell me what the future had in store – back then, everything felt so bleak with so many dark days.

“I forced myself to take small opportunities and it has led on to bigger things. It has taken a lot of small little steps to get here.”

Claire Lomas is just a force of nature. Few people realise just how tough it is to walk in those suits. It’s incredibly draining, and there are also problems like pressure sores. Her challenges are painful and exhausting, but she won’t let anything stop her.Pride of Sport judges

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