Part of the team that is supporting Tim Peake during his mission to the International Space Station is going to run the London Marathon as “Team Astronaut”. One employee of ESA’s European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, is aiming for the record books by running the full distance in a spacesuit.
We let Jonathan Scott, Medical Projects and Technology Team lead for ESA’s Space Medicine Office introduce the project in his own words:
As you may know, UK and ESA astronaut Tim Peake will run the 2016 London Marathon whilst on the International Space Station using the on-board treadmill. Those of you that have spent any significant period of time on a treadmill will appreciate that running a marathon on one is no small undertaking, both physically and mentally, and that’s before you factor in spending five months in microgravity in the run up to it. To share in a little of Tim’s pain, a group of us from The European Space Agency and The UK Space Agency – the cunningly titled, Team Astronaut – will also be running the London Marathon, although only the terrestrial version in London.
To significantly add to the Fun Factor, I will be running in a replica of the Sokol space suit, the Russian suit that all astronauts wear when travelling with the Soyuz capsule to, and back from the International Space Station. Moreover, should I complete the marathon in this replica suit in less than 4 hours and 30 min, the Guinness World Records will recognise this as a new World Record for the ‘Fastest Marathon by a Man Wearing a Replica Space Suit’, so this is precisely what I shall be attempting on April 24th – my colleague Libby Jackson from the UK Space Agency will be attempting to set the female version of this record.
To avoid injury and to meet health and safety requirements, my suit will be a little different to the one in the photo: the aluminium parts will be replaced by something a little softer and the hood will be modified slightly and folded back so that I don’t melt by Mile 2, but, aside from that, it will retain all the other features, including the gloves and boots (over running shoes), which I must wear in order to establish the World Record.
Tim Peake is an ambassador to the Prince’s Trust and to help raise awareness on the work done by them, myself and Team Astronaut, are donating any funds raised by our attempt to the charity.