The highly anticipated London Marathon is just a few weeks away now and everyone, including those orbiting space are getting excited about it.
The annual event is taking place on the 24th of April this year and a record-breaking 247,069 entered the ballot for the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon. Although not everyone was successful with their application, Britain’s most famous astronaut, Tim Peake is possibly the most surprising entrant of the year.
Whilst nobody is doubting his fitness ability, there’s the minor issue of the fact that he is currently orbiting space. Not content with becoming the first Briton to be selected for a mission to the International Space Station (ISS), Peake will also become the first man in history to run a marathon whilst in space.
The determined astronaut will be doing his version of the marathon at the ISS on the same day and at the same time that the event is taking place in London. He will run the 26.2 miles on a treadmill as the space station orbits the earth.
To combat the obvious issue of his weightlessness is space, Peake will wear a harness that tethers him to the treadmill as he runs. To make him feel like he’s right back at home, he will be watching a video of the iconic London course on a big screen in front of the treadmill.
Peake is no stranger to running and first completed the London Marathon (on Earth) in 1999 with a time of 3:18.50. He is not expecting to beat this time as the conditions will obviously be very different and being in space also has negative effects on bone density and muscles due to prolonged periods of microgravity.
A medical team will be monitoring Peake’s preparations and his run very carefully in order to ensure that he is at optimum fitness for his return to earth just eight weeks later.
Commenting on his decision to participate in the challenge, Peake said:
“As soon as I got assigned to my mission to the International Space Station, I thought wouldn’t it be great to run the Digital Virgin Money London Marathon from on-board the ISS? The London Marathon is a worldwide event. Let’s take it out of this world.”
As much as he is looking forward to the event, he is also expecting there to be some difficulties however:
“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 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.”
Peak said that the thing he is looking forward to the most is being able to interact with everyone down on earth as he will be running with an iPad. He is running to raise awareness for the Prince’s Trust which also has a team running on the ground.
It’s hoped that Peake’s decision to run the London Marathon from space will help to inspire youngsters to take an interest in science, space and running.
For those who are encouraging from the side-lines, Sunday lunch here at Smith & Wollensky could be just what you need after all that shouting and cheering! Book now and join us for yet another truly inspiring London Marathon.