Bionic suit marathoner makes historyMay 11 02:02
In London last week, Claire Lomas, 32, a paraplegic since 2007 after breaking her back in a freak horse riding accident, made history after she became the first person to ever complete a marathon while wearing a bionic walking suit (the ReWalk walking suit to be exact), and it took her 16 days to complete.
What’s next? A marathon category for bionic suit-wearers only? When you see amazing things like this with your own two eyes, it makes you realize - omg wow - miracles really can happen. But it’s crazy when you think about it: Claire, who must have thought walking again was out of the question until a cure arrived, must be waking up in shock since crossing the finish line (just like how I’d feel if I was ever able to do a cartwheel again).
And here’s a question to ponder, once these walking suits drop in price (right now the ReWalk costs around $75,000) and more people are able to get their hands on them, how will they change marathons…and the world for that matter? Surely, it’s not fair for someone in a bionic suit vs. someone who is not wearing one to have to compete against one another in a marathon. Right now it's not an issue (the suit only lets you walk over 1 mile/day), but one day it might be.
The person wearing the suit has much more energy, and you can’t put them in the wheelchair category because they’re clearly not using a wheelchair. It’s a tricky in-between grey area that’s sure to cause more confusion as these walking suits grow in popularity. I definitely forsee a whole slough of bionic adapted sports cropping up.
What’s your take on bionic walking suits? Would you wear one?
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.