European Space Agency British astronaut Tim Peake is going to run the London marathon in space, something no male has done yet. Peake, along with Russian astronaut Yuri Malenchenko and NASA astronaut Tim Kopra will be headed into space to work in the International Space Station next week, and will live and work there for six months.

Come April, Peake plans to digitally run the London marathon in space in real time while his running counterparts are doing the same on the ground in London. Peake has run the London Marathon on the ground already, having done so in 1999 and finishing with a time of 3:18:50.

He is running to benefit the charity, Prince’s Trust.

Marathon in space to be run on treadmill

Astronauts frequently exercise by running on a treadmill while in space, and do so several hours a day so they stay in good shape and their bodies won’t get run down from zero gravity issues. Peake can feel more like he is on Earth participating in the 26.2 miles of the London Marathon in space thanks to RunSocial, a fitness company that has mapped out the London race and has HD videos of all the scenery. The company makes videos of marathons for people to view while on their treadmill.

The digital reality video can help Peake to feel he is actually running through the London marathon route and the program adjusts to how the runner is performing.

Peake will be wearing a special harness with a waist belt and shoulder straps to keep his body on the treadmill since there is zero gravity on the International Space Station.

Peake not first to run marathon while in space

NASA astronaut Sunita Williams was the first woman to run a marathon in space when she ran the Boston Marathon on a treadmill back in 1997 as the real marathon was taking place on Earth.

Williams said she ran it in part to help inspire lazy Earth kids to exercise.

Peake will start his ISS mission on December 15. Besides running the marathon, he will be participating in several experiments, do maintenance on the station, and other astronaut duties. During his digitally run marathon race, Peake’s body will be represented by a special avatar in the video that will show him as he runs while wearing an ESA flight suit.

So, he can watch himself as he runs.

Hugh Brasher, the London marathon director, says that Peake’s mission will help to inspire kids to want to explore space and that he hopes the marathon in space will also inspire them to run.

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