British astronaut Tim Peake will run the London Marathon in April while still onboard the International Space Station.
Readying for his launch to the orbital outpost on 15 December, Peake has announced today he plans to conquer the 42km distance strapped to a treadmill aboard the ISS to raise awareness of the Prince's Trust, which he joined last month.
He will set out at the same time as the expected 30,000 participants of the London Marathon that will be physically present at the event on 24 April 2016.
“The thing I’m most looking forward to is that I can still interact with everybody down on Earth,” Peake said. “I’ll be running it with the iPad and watching myself running through the streets of London whilst orbiting the Earth at 400km.”
Throughout the race, Peake will have to wear uncomfortable elastic straps to prevent himself floating away from the treadmill. A ground-based medical team at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, will be monitoring his health status for the whole duration of the run. Peake previously ran the London Marathon in 1999, finishing in less than three hours and 20 minutes.
“I have to wear a harness system that’s a bit similar to a rucksack,” Peake explained. “It has a waist-belt 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 four hours.”
Peake will shoot off for his six-month Principia mission from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 15 December 2015, together with Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and Nasa astronaut Tim Kopra.
The first person to run a marathon in space was American Sunita Williams, who joined the Boston Marathon in 2007, finishing in four hours and 24 minutes.
Read E&T's exclusive interview with Tim Peake about his mission to the ISS: