Out of about 38,000 London Marathon runners, Tim Peake was the only participant to complete the race in orbit 200 miles above Earth.
While strapped to a treadmill aboard the International Space Station, the 44-year-old British astronaut, finished the race on April 24 in 3:35:21. That makes Peake the second astronaut to run 26.2 miles in the ISS; astronaut Sunita Williams completed the Boston Marathon in 2007.
Peake was also the official starter of the 36th running of the London Marathon. “I’m really excited to be able to join the runners on Earth from right here on board the Space Station. Good luck to everybody running, and I hope to see you all at the finish line,” he said in a video message played at the starting line.
Although running in a zero gravity environment posed some challenges—hence the weight-bearing harness to keep Peake from floating off the treadmill—including muscle and bone density loss, Peake says the environment is actually ideal for post-race recovery. “The moment you stop running and the moment you get off that bungee system, your muscles are in a completely relaxed state. And I do think we recover faster up here from any kind of aches or sprains,” he said in an NPR report.
As for experiencing the race atmosphere in London, Peake used the RunSocial app where he was able to see a digital version of the marathon route in real-time on his iPad.
With or without the app, though, it’s arguable Peake had the most unique view of the course of any London marathoner as he tweeted this photo before the race:
— Tim Peake (@astro_timpeake) April 24, 2016