The Science of Running

The Science of Running

Brandon Arakaki| blog| June 9, 2017| 0 Comments

Guest blogger Evan Mitchell, New England Academy Class of 2017

As you may or may not know, many of the sprinting world records are held by Usain Bolt, who is considered the fastest human ever. He runs the 100 meters in a world record 9.58 seconds, with a top speed of 12.422 meters per second.

You may notice that if he was able to sustain an average speed of 12.4 meters per second for 100 meters, his time would be considerably faster than 9.58 seconds. This is because Bolt, like all humans, is not able to sustain top speed for that distance. At the end of his 9.58 second 100 meter performance, it seems as if he is pulling away from the competition, but in reality he is slowing down less. If he could maintain his top speed for the whole race, he would finish in 8.05 seconds. His actual time is 84% of what his theoretical fastest time is. You can see a table comparing the times races would take to complete if they were ran at Usain Bolt’s top speed, compared to the actual world record here:

  Actual World Record Theoretical World Record Actual Percentage of Theoretical Actual Meters per Second
100m 9.58 8.05 84% 10.43
400m 43.03 32.2 75% 9.29
1 Mile 3:43 2:02 57% 7.2
Marathon 2:02:57 56:15 45% 5.7

Here’s a link to additional information about sprinting:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/oct/03/how-fast-can-we-go-the-science-of-sprinting




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