On December 15, British astronaut Tim Peake will travel on a six-month mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in an attempt to run the London Marathon (scheduled for April next year) in space.
Instead of running the actual route, Peake will be joining his fellow runners on a treadmill with a harness system designed to counter the weightlessness and support Peake’s natural running style, as well as a video feed of the actual route that can follow the same pace of Peake’s running.
The race, all 42 km (26.2 miles) of it, will be completed entirely on the ISS, 400 km (248 miles) above the Earth.
This may prove to be tricky, given the absence of typical factors that spur runners to keep going. On space and on his treadmill, Peake may not have environmental factors like wind or rain to contend with, but neither will he have wind or rain to help cool him down, or the cheers of spectators and the sight of fellow runners to keep him motivated.
Peake was able to complete the London Marathon in 1999 in just 3 hours, 18 minutes and 50 seconds. For his latest attempt, he plans finish anywhere between 3 and a half to 4 hours. Should he prove to be successful, the attempt will mark a major milestone not only for himself, but for the world.