The Fastest Human vs. The Fastest Animal
This morning I was doing a tempo run, and right before I started wishing it were over, I wondered to myself, how fast does the fastest human run? And how much faster is the cheetah? I mean, I think I run somewhat fast, but people like Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay, and Justin Gatlin clearly run much faster. Sometimes when I’m doing intervals I think about how much faster Usain Bolt would run a lap around the track. And what if there were a cheetah (perhaps in its own lane/cage), running too? I’d be lapped before I even got started.
As fate would have it, my Google Alerts sent me an article titled “What Runners can Learn from Cheetahs.” Well, if there is one animal we can learn from to run faster, it’s obviously the cheetah. The article basically goes through an analysis of the cheetah’s running form, and then compares it to the fastest human – Usain Bolt. Before answering the question of how fast is man, I want to share a little about what makes the cheetah so dang fast. First, it uses a rotary gallop, where its legs churn in a circular motion and its hind legs reach out almost past its ears in full stride. (Us two legged humans will have to stick with our normal gallop.) Second, when cheetahs pick up the speed, they increase their leg turnover dramatically and lengthen their stride even more. In comparing the cheetah with the greyhound, it was observed that cheetahs leave their paws on the ground slightly longer, which allows for more shock absorption. Also, the claws of the cheetah are never retracted. They are always out so they act somewhat like the spikes of a sprinter. The bones of the cheetah are lightweight, it has extra large nostrils to suck in more air, and it has extra large lungs and adrenal glands. The cheetah was truly born to run, and really fast at that. Just how fast does the cheetah run? It can run up to 65 mph and here is a video showing the world’s fastest animal in action:
Now how fast is the fastest human? Usain Bolt, during his 100 meter sprint in 2009, ran an amazing speed of 28 mph. Here he is, running faster than any other human:
So there you have it. The fastest animal is over two times faster than the fastest human. I really do feel for any animal that falls prey to the cheetah. It never even had a chance. Unless of course, it is running from this cheetah:
Happy Trails and Happy Running!