British astronaut Tim Peake became the first man to complete a marathon in space on Sunday, running the classic 26.2 mile distance while strapped to a treadmill aboard the International Space Station.
As part of the London Marathon, Britain’s biggest mass participation race, the 44-year-old spaceman saw London’s roads under his feet in real time on an iPad as, 250 miles below him, more than 37,000 runners simultaneously pounded the streets.
Peake covered the distance in three hours 35 minutes 21 seconds, which was a world away from the time recorded by the real race winner, Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, whose 2:03:05 was the second fastest ever recorded.
Peake’s zero gravity effort, while out of this world, was still more than a quarter of an hour slower than the 3:18:50 he had clocked on earth as a keen, ultra-fit fun runner back in 1999.
On a six-month stint on the ISS, the astronaut had been the official starter too, sending the runners a good luck video message from the station in the 10-second countdown to the race that concluded: “I hope to see you all at the finish line.”
He also tweeted a photograph of England’s capital from space accompanied by the message: “Hello #London! Fancy a run? :)”.
Then, it was down to business, using elastic straps over his shoulders and around his waist to keep him in contact with the running belt in weightless conditions as he ran.
(Reporting by Ian Chadband; Editing by Toby Davis)