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  ISS astronaut Sunita Williams runs Boston Marathon in space

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Author Topic:   ISS astronaut Sunita Williams runs Boston Marathon in space
Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-29-2007 06:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
quote:
NASA Astronaut to Run Boston Marathon in Space

NASA astronaut Suni Williams will go faster than anyone has ever gone in the Boston Marathon. She will run the famed race in April as an official entrant from 210 miles above Earth aboard the International Space Station. This will be the first time an astronaut in space will be an official participant in a marathon.

Williams hopes her unique run will serve as an inspiration.

"I encourage kids to start making physical fitness part of their daily lives," Williams said. "I think a big goal like a marathon will help get this message out there."

Williams, who is an accomplished marathoner, has served aboard the space station since December 2006 as a member of the Expedition 14 crew. She will run the race on a station treadmill, circling Earth at least twice in the process, running as fast as eight miles per hour but flying more than five miles each second.

And she will not be alone in her adventure. Her sister Dina Pandya and a fellow NASA astronaut, Karen Nyberg, will run the race in Boston. Williams and Nyberg qualified for the Boston race by finishing among the top 100 females in the Houston Marathon in January 2006.

Exercise is essential in NASA's efforts to counteract the effects of long-duration weightlessness on astronauts' health. For months, Williams has been training for the marathon while aboard the station. She runs at least four times a week, two longer runs and two shorter runs. Station crews are required to exercise on the treadmill, a stationary bike and a resistive exercise machine to counter loss of bone density and muscle mass.

"In microgravity, both of these things start to go away because we don't use our legs to walk around and don't need the bones and muscles to hold us up under the force of gravity," Williams said.

Williams is a native of Needham, Mass., and graduated from Needham High School in 1983. Her family resides near Falmouth, Mass.

NASA will have an exhibit in Boston during the marathon. Nyberg and astronaut Jeff Williams will be available for interviews. Jeff Williams, who is not related to Suni Williams, completed a six-month stay on the station in 2006. NASA's exhibit will be at the John Hancock Sports and Fitness Expo at the Hynes Convention Center April 13-15.

Due to the crew's sleep schedule, WIlliams' run of the marathon on the station may not coincide exactly with the race on the ground, but mission control is working to match the events as closely as possible. This year's marathon is Monday, April 16.

Television and still imagery of Williams' efforts are expected to be available.


Astronaut Sunita L. Williams, Expedition 14 flight engineer, equipped with a bungee harness, exercises on the Treadmill Vibration Isolation System (TVIS) in the Zvezda Service Module of the International Space Station.

SRB
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posted 03-30-2007 12:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SRB   Click Here to Email SRB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think Suni Williams has a great idea. Its good for her and great for the space program to connect will millions of people that way. I hope that TV covers her "run" as part of their coverage of the marathon.

Steve

tegwilym
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From: Renton, WA USA
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posted 03-30-2007 01:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another record for Suni. Good for her!

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-15-2007 10:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From NASA.gov
quote:
Race From Space May Coincide with Race on Earth

210 miles above Earth, Expedition 15 crew member Sunita Williams will attempt to do something no other astronaut has ever done. She will run the Boston Marathon while in orbit.

The 41-year-old plans to run the 26.2-mile race on a treadmill onboard the International Space Station on Monday, April 16, at 10 a.m. EDT. This year’s marathon also starts at 10 a.m. on Monday.

The Boston Athletic Association has issued Williams bib number 14,000. The bib has been sent electronically to NASA, which has forwarded it to Williams. She’s a Needham, Mass., native and says her reason for running the marathon is simple. “I would like to encourage kids to start making physical fitness part of their daily lives. I thought a big goal like a marathon would help get this message out there.”

Regular exercise is essential to maintaining bone density while in space for astronauts. “In microgravity, both of these things start to go away because we don’t use our legs to walk around and don’t need the bones and muscles to hold us up under the force of gravity,” Williams said.

No one knows that better than Steve Hart. For two years, he’s been Williams’ flight surgeon. “There are specific challenges to staying healthy while in space. Sunita wants to make fitness the hallmark of her expedition stay. She wants to educate and motivate others about being physically fit in general.”

Williams, an accomplished marathoner, has been training for the marathon for months while serving a six-month stint as a flight engineer on board the ISS. She runs at least four times a week, 2 longer runs and 2 shorter runs.

Williams qualified for the marathon when she ran a 3:29:57 in the Houston Marathon last year. Her biggest challenge running in space will be staying harnessed to a specially designed treadmill with bungee cords. Williams says running on the TVIS which stands for Treadmill Vibration Isolation System can sometimes be uncomfortable. The machinery puts a strain on the runner's hips and shoulders.

Mitzi Laughlin is an Astronaut Strength, Conditioning and Rehabilitation coach at Johnson Space Center. She’s been involved in planning Williams' rigorous exercise routine for a year and a half. “We’ve done a lot more TVIS work than we would normally prescribe for any astronaut. Suni has a superb fitness level. She’s dedicated and perhaps one of our best runners.”

Here on Earth, Williams has a huge support network. Fellow NASA astronaut, Karen Nyberg, Williams’ sister Dina Pandya, and long-time friend Ronnie Harris will be among the 24,000 other runners participating in the marathon. Harris met Williams during their days together at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. “Anything regarding Boston makes Suni light up. Her running passion is manifested in the best marathon in the world, which happens to be her home town. You need to experience the Boston Marathon to understand why she is gonna do it in orbit.”

Race organizers say this will be their first satellite venture, and they are thrilled about it. "Suni running 26.2 miles in space on Patriots' Day is really a tribute to the thousands of marathoners who are running here on Earth. She is pioneering new frontiers in the running world,” said Jack Fleming, Boston Athletic Association.


BMckay
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posted 04-16-2007 07:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for BMckay   Click Here to Email BMckay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
She is going to have a very hard run. That harness she wears pulls down on her very tightly. I felt the pull and it is strong.

Spent some time at the NASA booth yesterday at the Boston Marathon pavilion. Saw Karen Nyberg, wished her luck and missed out on seeing Jeff Williams. Karen and Jeff were both signing autographs that day but I missed getting things signed.

It will be a mess today in Boston running!!!

Good luck Suni and Karen!

WAWalsh
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From: Cortlandt Manor, NY
Registered: May 2000

posted 04-16-2007 08:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Suni Williams will certainly have the best running conditions for the race. 26.2 miles into rain and wind gusts hitting 40 mph will make for a tough race.

Robert Pearlman
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Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-16-2007 01:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Suni Williams completed the Boston Marathon at 1:23:46 p.m. CDT with an unofficial race time of 4 hours, 23 minutes and 46 seconds (the official time will be read off the Treadmill Vibration Isolation System [TVIS] on which she ran).

Williams: Houston, Alpha, Line 1.

Houston: Alpha, Houston, congratulations, that sounds like the voice of a finisher.

Williams: Hooyah, I'm done! Woo-hoo! It was a little over four hours. I've got to calculate the time from the official Ruskie-chassis [sic]. Probably about four hours and 20 some minutes. So, I'm happy. My team is here with me.

Houston: Nice job, Suni. Hooyah! Proud of you.

Williams: Hooyah!

Williams: Congratulations to the TVIS engineers. The thing held out like a champ, no problems, no faults, no nothing. It did whatever I wanted it to do, so it's a great piece of gear.

BMckay
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Posts: 1906
From: MA, USA
Registered: Sep 2002

posted 04-16-2007 01:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BMckay   Click Here to Email BMckay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Karen Nyberg finished in a great time of 3:32:09.

She had many interviews and public appearnces to go along with this race so I hope she finally gets to enjoy Boston!

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-20-2008 01:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One year later, Suni Williams is preparing today to run in the Boston Marathon again... this time on the ground. From WBZ, Boston's CBS affiliate:
quote:
"I'm pretty excited," said astronaut Suni Williams. "I was a little bit worried I would be ready for it. That was my biggest worry after being in space for 6 months."

Williams ran Boston last year in space on a treadmill. This year she is ready for the real thing.

"It will be really nice to have wind in my face," she said. "I'm not looking forward to Heartbreak Hill but I'm looking forward to seeing all the spectators. That will be really cool."


BMckay
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From: MA, USA
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posted 04-21-2008 01:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BMckay   Click Here to Email BMckay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Suni and her sister did an awesome job today. They finished in 4:20:42.

All times are CT (US)

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