In April, while runners wait eagerly at the starting line for the London Marathon, another competitor will be waiting as well but far far away, on the International Space Station. That extraterrestrial competitor is Tim Peake, an astronaut with the European Space Agency (ESA). He ran the London Marathon (from Earth, obviously) in 1999, but will be running this year in space. And while it might seem like running in microgravity is cheating, it will still take a lot of work.
Peake will run the full 26.2 miles on a treadmill, which, despite the location of that treadmill, sounds pretty darn boring. Luckily, he’ll be equipped with an iPad that will make him feel like he’s running through the streets of London. Though, it might be a little tricky to really feel like you’re there when you’ve been strapped down to keep you from floating away. 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.”
Though he ran the 1999 marathon in a respectable three hours and 18 minutes, he doesn’t plan to make this race about breaking that time. “I’ve set myself a goal of anywhere between 3:30 to 4 hours,” Peake says in an ESA post.
Peake is currently in Kazakhstan, awaiting his December 15 shuttle to the space station.