Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: British astronaut Timothy Peake is all decked up to run London Marathon in one and a half weeks from over 400 km up.
The 44-year-old says that he does not want to set a personal record but at the the same time is happy that he had plenty of time to get a know-how about the International Space Station treadmill.
After US astronaut Sunita Williams participated in the 2007 Boston Marathon, it will be the second space marathon.
"It's a great challenge that I set myself, and I'm quite glad this is happening later on in the mission," said Peake, a space station resident since December.
One of the biggest challenges, he said, is the harness he wears to keep his feet on the treadmill in weightlessness: It tends to rub his shoulders and waist.
In an interview today with The Associated Press, Peake said he has the harness fitting "pretty well now," and he's got a few training half-marathons and a little longer under his space belt.
The former British Army helicopter test pilot hopes to finish the 26.2-mile race on April 24 in under four hours, maybe even 3 hours and 30 or 45 minutes "if I'm feeling really good."
That's about 2 and a half laps around Earth. He completed the London Marathon in about 3 hours and 15 minutes in 1999.
He'll run at the same time as all the other estimated 38,000 marathoners, including several European Space Agency and UK Space Agency representatives who call themselves Team Astronaut.
The point is "to share in a little of Tim's pain," said Jonathan Scott, head of the medical projects and technology team at ESA's space medicine office in Cologne, Germany.
Scott will wear a replica Russian launch and entry spacesuit for the entire race "to significantly add to the Fun Factor," he explained in a web posting.
A UK Space Agency employee, Libby Jackson, also will wear a spacesuit replica.
Peake's US crewmates, Jeffrey Williams and Timothy Kopra, promise to assist in any way they can.
"We'll check in on him every now and then, and make sure he gets all the food and drink that he needs to make it through it," Williams told the AP.
While he can't exactly carbo-load up there, Peake has managed to fill up on fruit this week: Fresh oranges and apples were aboard the SpaceX Dragon supply ship that arrived Sunday.
Peake and his Team Astronaut colleagues on the ground are running the marathon for the Prince's Trust, a charity set up by Prince Charles 40 years ago to train and educate disadvantaged young people in Britain.
(With PTI inputs)