A British astronaut has announced he will attempt to become the first man to run a marathon in space while aboard the International Space Station. Tim Peake starts his 173-day ISS mission on December 15.
The 43-year-old former army major said Friday he planned to recreate the 26-mile (42-kilometer) foot race while strapped to harness tethered to a treadmill some 400 kilometers (250 miles) above earth.
Peake will become the second person to attempt such a feat, after US astronaut Sunita Williams recreated the Boston Marathon in 2007.
"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," Peake said.
Physical exercise is essential in space to fight the effects of a microgravity that causes muscles to atrophy from reduced demand.
Peake said he would run on April 24, the day of the marathon in his home country, which has about 37,000 participants from all over the world.
The run is not Peake's first marathon, nor the first time an astronaut has recreated the competition from orbit.
Microgravity aboard International Space Station
US astronaut Sunita Williams became the first - and to date only - person to have run a marathon in space when she recreated the Boston Marathon in 2007.
Peake ran the London Marathon in 1999 in three hours 18 minutes and 50 seconds and says he hopes to finish this time in less than four hours.
"Major Tim" as he is known among astronauts is due to lift off December 15 on a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. He is booked on a 173-day mission aboard the International Space Station and will become the second Briton to travel in space.
Helen Sharman was the first Briton to go into space in 1991 on Project Juno, a co-operative project between a number of British companies and the Soviet government. She spent a week at the Russian Mir space station.
During the run, Peake will watch a video of the London course on a digital screen.
jar/jm (AFP, AP)