A British astronaut by the name of Tim Peake this past weekend ran a marathon, something pretty common amongst people, however this one was special: Peake ran the entire London Marathon… from space. Plus, he broke a record while doing this (and it isn’t running the first marathon in space. It’s been done before.). How is this possible you may ask? Well…
First of all, you can’t run in zero gravity on a treadmill. You need something to drag you down so your not just gliding your feet on top of the machine. So, Peake and his team strapped a waist belt and shoulder straps to push him down to provide the right amount of simulated gravity that would be present if he were on Earth.Peake previously noted earlier that the straps begin to bother him after about 40 minutes, something that wouldn’t be a problem if he were on land.
Second, in order to “see where he was going” per se, he had an iPad simulate the entire London Marathon route. He also watched the entire run live on BBC, something he though wouldn’t be on but rather a movie such as 2001’s A Space Odyssey:
Watching the live marathon on the BBC the whole time was a huge encouragement – I had thought I would watch a movie (2001 A Space Odyssey was ready to go) or listen to my #Spacerocks playlist but in fact it was extremely motivating watching the live coverage of the event and hearing the stories of some of the 33000 people taking part.
In addition to completing the whole 16.2 mile run, Peake also was able to crush the previous space marathon record. The old one, with a total time of four hours and 24 minutes, was smashed by Peake’s time of three hours and 35 minutes. That’s almost a full hour. Of course, this may be due to Peake beginning to sprint during the end as by doing so, the straps didn’t hurt as much:
The run went better than expected. I thought I’d stick to a steady 7.5 mph, but when I got to 10 miles I realised that my legs were feeling OK but my shoulders were beginning to hurt, so I needed to finish the run quicker than planned and running faster doesn’t seem to hurt the shoulders any more – in fact I think the longer stride made it less painful on the shoulders.
And to top it all off, Peake ran the long distance for Prince’s Trust, a charity which helps young people get proper job and work training.
Peake published a whole blog post on much more details about his run, like how he kept hydrated and what an amazing experience it was. You can read this article by clicking here.