Apr
18
2007

Runner’s high: Astronaut runs marathon in space

Fast in space: NASA astronaut Suni Williams ran a marathon Monday on a treadmill in the Intenrational Space Station concurrently with Earth-bound runners doing the Boston Marathon. Due to the weightless conditions in space, she had to be bungee-corded to the treadmill. (Photo courtesy of NASA)
Fast in space: NASA astronaut Suni Williams ran a marathon Monday on a treadmill in the Intenrational Space Station concurrently with Earth-bound runners doing the Boston Marathon. Due to the weightless conditions in space, she had to be bungee-corded to the treadmill. (Photo courtesy of NASA)
In real time and space, NASA astronaut Suni Williams completed Monday’s Boston Marathon in about five seconds. That’s impossible, you say?

Actually, Williams ran the marathon while on a treadmill in the International Space Station. She started her 26-plus mile effort at the same time that runners in Boston began the Earth-based marathon. It actually took her 4 hours, 24 minutes to cover the marathon’s distance on the treadmill. She was running in an orbit 210 miles above the surface of the Earth.

But when you factor in that the space station is orbited Earth at 17,500 miles per hour, Williams’ body passed over the actual length of a marathon in just five seconds.

Running a marathon in space required some other special accommodations as well. Bungee cords were used to keep Williams connected to the treadmill because of the weightless conditions of space. And she followed the progress of the actual marathon going on in Boston with a laptop computer.

Two of her friends were running in the actual marathon on Earth, as well. Williams is an experienced marathoner and ran a three-hour-29-minute marathon in Houston last year.

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