Maine astronaut runs 4th of July race from space

Posted: 07/05/13 at 1:10 pm EDT

YORK, Maine (WHDH) -- Lots of people run races on the Fourth of July but a Maine native celebrated with his own unique take on that tradition. He went for a jog in space!

"I'm envious of the scenic view that you guys are about to enjoy as you run through our town,” said Chris Cassidy.

1200 runners listened to Cassidy's inspirational message right before they blasted off the starting line.

"We absolutely miss him, but I think it's special for us and for him because growing up in York, obviously it's a very proud part of our family,” said Jeff Cassidy, Chris Cassidy's brother.

A long time veteran of the “4 on the 4th race,” Chris not only got things started but he actually joined in the race from space.

Chris was tethered to his treadmill since there's no gravity on the space station. On Thursday at the exact time runners were pounding the pavement on earth, Cassidy was tethered to his treadmill once again, running his own four miles, right in step with family, friends and his community. He even had a video of the course with him with a few surprises.

"What he didn't know was that each mile marker and at the finish there are friends and family and all kinds of supporters from the town of York, hooting and hollering and cheering him on and telling him we're thinking about him today too,” said Robin Cogger, race organizer.

"I think that was awesome 'cause now I can say, I raced against an astronaut in space. That's pretty cool,” said Alex Moser, race winner.

Going the distance from a distant frontier, but always at home in his heart. For family members the only question: “Who would have the faster finish?”

"I can't remember the last time he and I competed against each other on earth, but this will be fun to do it, so we've been talking it up. A little trash talk back and forth in the family that's a good thing,” said Trey Cassidy, Chris Cassidy's cousin.

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