Training for a six-month-long trip to outer space is a grueling ordeal, and so is training for a marathon, so British astronaut Tim Peake decided to do both at the same, as he prepares to run a simulated London Marathon while living in the International Space Station.
Peake will be a part of the European Space Agency’s Dec. 15 mission to the ISS, and while he is orbiting 249 miles above Earth on April 24 he will be running 26.2 miles on a treadmill while looking at a projection of the course that runs from Greenwich through the English Capital while participants set off on the same course.
The spaceman will be in a special harnessed treadmill for the jog, which he recognizes may hinder his performance.
“One of the biggest challenges I’ll be facing is the harness system. In microgravity I would float if I didn’t strap myself down to the treadmill so I have to wear a harness system that’s a bit similar to a rucksack. It has a waistbelt and shoulder straps. That has to provide quite a bit of downforce to get my body onto the treadmill so after about 40 minutes, that gets very uncomfortable. I don’t think I’ll be setting any personal bests. I’ve set myself a goal of anywhere between 3:30 to 4 hours.”
Since the ISS is traveling around the globe at 4.76 miles per second, he will actually be covering a full marathon every five-and-a-half seconds, which would probably be a world record were he still attached to the world.
Peake, who was also the first British man in space and completed the marathon on terra firma back in 1999, is running the “Digital Virgin Money London Marathon” to raise awareness for The Prince’s Trust. He is scheduled to return to Earth in June 2016.
– Brendan Maloy