Marathon star Claire Lomas begins 400 mile bike ride

Claire Lomas training at Whitwell Leisure Park, Rutland
Image caption Claire Lomas will be talking to school children about the work of spinal research charities during the challenge
Claire Lomas completing the 2012 London Marathon
Image caption In 2012, she completed the London Marathon in last place, but inspired many people with her courage and determination
Claire Lomas kisses her medal after completing the London Marathon in 2012
Image caption Her latest challenge was supposed to start in France, but French law meant she was unable to collect money en route
Claire Lomas at Greythorne Primary School
Image caption Claire Lomas said she wanted to inspire school children by telling them about how she has dealt with her accident

A paralysed athlete who became the first person to complete the London Marathon using a robotic suit has set off on a 400 mile bike ride.

Claire Lomas, from Melton Mowbray, lost the use of her legs after a horse riding accident in 2007.

But she completed the marathon course in 17 days on foot using the specially designed suit.

She now hopes to raise £400,000 for spinal research charities hand cycling from Nottingham to London.

The disability rights campaigner and fundraiser said: "It will be a real test of strength and endurance but all for two very good causes."

During the challenge she will also visit schools to raise awareness about the work of Spinal Research and the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation.

She said: "After the marathon I was invited to go to quite a few schools and I've just loved it - the kids have reacted so well, so I thought I'd combine it with my next challenge."

"I'm going to talk to the children about what's happened in my life and how I've overcome my accident and got on with things since then.

"I want to try to inspire these children and tell them how I've gone from rock bottom but through fighting on you can go on and have the best days of your life."

She set off from Nottingham Trent University earlier and hopes to arrive in central London in three weeks.

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