NASA Astronaut Sunita “Suni” Williams competed in the Malibu triathlon while still being on board and commanding the International Space Station, becoming the first person to complete a "spaceathlon".
With the help of exercise equipment aboard the space station, Williams competed with approximately 3,350 people in the 2012 Nautica Malibu Triathlon on Sunday. While the rest of the participants were running, biking and swimming at Zuma Beach in California, Williams was competing 250 miles above them in space.
The space station is equipped with its own treadmill and stationary bike, which use harnesses and straps to keep astronauts from floating away. Williams used this equipment for the running and biking portion of the triathlon. To simulate the swimming portion of the race, Williams used a resistance training device called the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED).
Suni Williams competes in the Malibu Triathlon while aboard ISS
Florida Today reports Williams told mission control: “My watch says 1:48:43 for the three events and the transitions. I’m happy to be done. It wasn’t easy, and I’m sure everybody out in California is happy to be done, too."
Williams, a captain in the U.S. Navy, made her first trip into space in 2007 and ran the Boston Marathon in space during that trip. She arrived aboard the ISS on July 14th and virtually ran the 7 mile Falmouth Road Race on Aug. 12 as part of her training regimen for the triathlon.
Popular Science says Williams holds the women’s world records for the most spacewalks, at 6, and the most spacewalking time, at 44 hours and two minutes
According to the Huffington Post, she also holds the record for the longest continuous spaceflight by a female at 195 consecutive days on the ISS.
The day before her triathlon, she relieved station commander Gennady Padalk, a Russian cosmonaut who returned to earth on Sunday, and became the new commander of the Expedition 33 crew.