Completing a marathon is no easy task, but even the most accomplished marathon runners now have a tough record to break, since over the weekend Tim Peake has set a new benchmark for the fastest marathon in space.
Peake spent the weekend preparing for and ultimately completing the London marathon, all from a tiny treadmill orbiting the globe.
Peake is the first man to run a marathon in space, and the second person after NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, who completed the Boston Marathon from space in 2007 in about 4 hours.
Peake ran the London Marathon once before, in 1999. He finished in three hours and 18 minutes. In December, Peake said he wasn’t looking to break his record, and set a goal between 3:30 and 4 hours.
Given that he’s 1) in space and 2) nearly 20 years older, it was pretty impressive that he managed to finish in about 3 hours and 35 minutes.
In the photo, you can see the elastic straps, which held him in place against the treadmill for the duration of the marathon. The elastic straps and waist belt provide downward force, which allows astronauts to run and keep their muscles working while in space. Peake told the ESA that “after about 40 minutes, that gets very uncomfortable,” so it’s likely that 3 and a half hours wasn’t too pleasant.
Peake has been on the ISS for just over four months. He took a December 15 shuttle to the space station, and is scheduled to return in early June. There’s no word yet on whether he’ll run next year’s marathon terrestrially.