Changing Planet

How Fast Can A Human Run?

Every four years, the premier event at the summer Olympics is the 100 meter dash, the swift sprint that you can literally miss by sneezing. In the past two summer games in London and Beijing, the man who won the race was the Jamaican phenom Usain Bolt. Bolt quickly earned the nickname of being the fastest man on earth, which no one has yet been able to take away.

His talent is simply that he generates more power than other sprinters. But he also does something else that’s fascinating. He has found a way to reduce the cross section of his body, which, in effect, reduces the aerodynamic drag while he runs. That was the finding from a study from the National University of Mexico that created a mathematical model to analyze Bolt’s running form, and the possibility that he can run even faster in future races. In fact with a few more tweaks to the way he runs down a track, the world’s fastest man can cut his world record time of 9.58 seconds to 9.46. Small decrease, but in competitive track and field, it’s a big difference. And just for anyone still unimpressed, that time would translate to 10.6 meters per second, or an average of 23.7 miles per hour.

The one thing even more interesting about Bolt isn’t how much energy he produces, but how much he wastes. Only 7.79 percent of his energy is used to move himself forward, the researchers found, leaving 92.21 percent spent in the fight against air resistance. That essentially means that for the fastest man—and any sprinter trying to break world records—that the way the weather conditions, like the way the wind is blowing, the day you compete might actually be even more important than how hard he trains.

  • George dike

    He didnt say anything about traction; resistance due to ground formation. Or is that not to be considered? Please ask the expert to educate me.


    on your carp invasion three paragraphs. look up big river fishing company in Illinois. exporting 30 million pounds of arp to china this year. more in future. commercialization will wipe out in ten years. thanks, daniel

  • Tanujgoyal

    exercise must be compalsery h fds..

  • Jacob Fisher (Ph.D., P.E., Biomechanist)

    Your last sentence is not accurate. The implication is that his training is only important to the power (energy per time) needed to move him forward but not for the power needed to overcome air resistance. But actually it is only through rigorous training that Mr. Bolt can generate the power he needs to fight that air resistance regardless of the direction the wind is blowing. (It also takes rigorous training to make those tweaks to shave the time from 9.58 seconds to 9.46 seconds.) So in the end, how hard you train is far and away the most important factor. The direction the wind is blowing the day of the race is only nuance. Otherwise I, with minimal training, could run 100 meters in 10 seconds if only the wind was at my back, but that is not going to happen any time soon any way the wind blows.

  • zake

    soon ill be faster then bolt because im 12 year old and i can run the 100 meter dash in 9.98

  • Anthony Ramirez

    I’m 13 and I can run the 100 meter in 6.34 seconds

  • carsyn

    I am almost faster than usain bolt I can d it in 9.72 seconds

  • silver

    You people kidding or what.?
    I run 100 meters in 4.89 seconds

  • Johnny Nightrider

    Noone at this time can run the 100 meter dash as fast as Bolt.I heard he can hit 30m.p.h. in sprints.Anything under 10 seconds in the 100 meter is incredibly fast.

  • whysomad

    Haha, all these comments here saying they can do it 4 seconds. Get on my level, you’re amateurs. I can do the 100 backwards on a unicycle in 2 seconds flat.

  • Billy

    if a big mean dog was chasing me I could outrun anyone

  • Unanymous

    All of you who say you can sprint 100m in 2 sec, 4sec, 6 sec, you’re all liars. Bolt has the record, and even in theory, a human can only run 100m in 6.706 seconds.

  • sarah

    I am a 12 year old girl… I can run 100 metres in 27 seconds

  • Amin mal

    I am 15 years old and I can run 100 meters in 9 seconds and something because I did not record it properly maybe I can run much faster then that

  • Justin Hernandez

    If you guys could run faster than bolt why not call the people that make the record books and prove to them you are. If you dare

  • riley hill

    you people are all just talkers usain bolt trains everyday harder than any of you will imagine just to hold his title so to me bolt is the most humble record holder in world bolt doesn’t talk he takes action and never doubts himself you people should be like that he is a living example of a hard worker

  • Paul Santorp

    Of course the fastest man had to be a monkey

  • Njeri

    What did Santorp mean by ‘the fastest man had to be a monkey?’

  • VikkiDEEE

    Man, I wish I cloud run that fast.

  • Thino

    Both are liers in the above comments!!I was tested this morning on the highway and beat the world recordholder with smile.I did the 100meter in 5.41 seconds. Unbelievable watch me on tv soon!!

  • Zack

    Wow, LAME. Usain Bolt? Pshhh. I can run 100 metres in 3.56 seconds FLAT.

  • Hello

    You are guys sure your timers are accurate?

  • KGT

    Well, my record is a solid 22.50 seconds for 100m
    Thats about 16kph or 10 miles per hour. That makes me two times faster…nope, two times SLOWER than the world record.
    Air resistance does play a major role, but I say that the temperature matters too. I run faster on a rainy day under shelters dry track since heat is more easily lost. Maybe we humans need heatsinks as well.
    And please maintain the track. And in an enclosed oxygen tube of 100kPa and 25 degrees Celcius.

  • InSamniac

    All you people saying you can do it in 4-6-8 seconds, especially you ones who are 12-15…good lord please check the markers on your track. A lot of people can get those numbers running 100 FEET, but I promise that you did not outrun the fastest recorded man in the world(except you unicycle bro, you seem legit). Either you’re going by the wrong unit of measurement(which is probably the most likely scenario), or you’re lying(rather obviously) for the sake of looking cool, and I assure you no one actually thinks a teenager outran the fastest man in the world. I was the fastest one on my track team from the 8th grade to the 11th, and I ran 100m in a little under 13 seconds and came close to beating my state record(at the time). I got up at 5am for two months four days a week training for that, so no, you did not run 100m in three or four or whatever seconds.

  • Fast kid

    Haha you’re all amatuers I can run the 100 in negative time

  • Kendall


  • Sherri

    Please, anyone who has enough impudence and shameless audacity to claim that you, after no training whatsoever, can run faster than the world record holder, get over yourself. Anyone who cares enough to boast to the 29 other people commenting is probably better at sitting in front of a screen anyways. You have too much time on your hands. Go make a stupid Youtube video.

  • DatBoi

    Psssh whysomad I can do 200 meters on my unicycle in 2 seconds flat whysomad now (heh heh puns)

  • jessie

    I can run 17 mph. I put lines in the ground and had someone time me and I got 2.9seconds in 52ft. I did the math and I got 17mph.close to bolt

  • jessie

    I am 15 and I can run 17 mph I put two lines 52 ft apart and timed myself running that 52 ft and I got 2.9 seconds.I did the math and I got 17 mph.close to bolt.gonna be training hard.

  • baseball fan

    Billy Hamilton on Cincinnati Reds team just ran from 1st to 2nd base 26 mph. That’s as fast as a cheetah

  • baseball fan

    Billy Hamilton of the Cincinnati Reds just ran from 1st base to 2nd base 26 mph. How do you like that one?

  • Tommy

    I’m 14, and I’m a Small guy, I can run100m in 12.76 Seconds,I’m proud of it, and tbh I don’t think anyone will get as fast as Usain Bolt.

  • Heurtimg Mak

    I am 13 yr old am my speed is 11.51, i havr found a way to get aerodynamic stability without any sincere workout .

  • Driz3

    Everyone of you are crazy that say they can run 100m in 10 or under seconds. I ran collegiate track and was only hitting 10.8s officially. If someone timed you with a stop watch then that for sure doesn’t count.

  • Jaimee

    Hi so I’m a 13 year old girl and I ran 100m in 12.05 seconds can someone let me know if that is good, average or bad

  • Banana

    If you can run 100m sprint in under 5 seconds why don’t you contact the Olympics and tell THEM?

    “Good question”

  • Stephen

    Im 12 and i can run 14.4 mph… I timed myself and ran my 40 at 5.12 mph and i got 15. Something mph and i thought that wasnt right so i ran again and got 5.68 seconds for my next 40 yard dash… Also cheetahs run 72 miles per hour a simple “baseball player” cant run 72 miles per hour… Thats unnatural.

  • Noel

    I’m half wolf, and that’s a lie. Even if you did you would be dying because you would of went so fast that blood came up minute after minute until you died.

  • Willshaun

    im 14 and can run 23 mph


    wow you guys try your best to lie. You mineazwell call me the flash with my speed

  • Xian Jian Zhang

    I am 13 years old and of asian descent. I ran a 10.8 100m.

  • Sahan Lakshitha

    You want believe me but I ran 50m/s when I was 18……. I never realised it was fast but now I know it was damn fast…… fuck I think I had flash power or something but now I cant catch atleast a 12 year old……. no matter how hard I tried I never gained such speed…….. thank you….

    I know you want believe me……

  • lily

    im 10 and i can run 100 in 13.80 sec. i did it for first in fitness. 😛

  • Usain Bolt

    I see you all are trying to compare to me. I wonder how many of you I will see in the next olympics.

  • Braxton

    I’m 11 and ice answer 15.2 Mph

  • Frank

    To be honest,i went to train at a stadium with a freind when we saw some sprinters,and we asked if we could join them and they agreed.I ran 300m in 35 seconds and a 100m in 10.03

  • Avery

    I love track and i ran the 100m in 14 seconds and came in first and for the long jump i jumped about 16 feet i am a 13 year old girl

  • Johnny Rodger

    I’m 10 and I was clocked at 25 mph at baseball.dont try to say I cant cause I can!

  • Robber Bottom

    I run so fast I end up going backwards.

  • Denis Garley

    silver that sounds like a load of nonsense

  • jon

    I’m from Australia and i can run 12.06 seconds in 100 meters and I’m only 14!

  • emmy

    Pssh, Barry Allen, aka. The Flash, is the fastest man alive.

  • William Kyle Glaser

    Im 15 and I can run 22 mph. I race my grandpa in his truck down our rpad and i typically beat himcause by the time he catches up to me @ 22 mph, according to his spedometer, Im already in the driveway. Its about a half a mileof gb straight rpad too lol. The treadmill that I used at planet fitness said I was running 22.3 mph. I just think that awesome. Who know I may be able to beat usain bolt later with some training lol.

  • William Kyle Glaser

    Planing on joining the military in about 2 1/2 years cuase imagine what I could get done with that type of speed lol

  • Mr anudse

    Sometimes I run fast but it is hard to run fast when I eat pizza because the extra weight in my stomach is affected by earth gravity more than air or even water.

  • Cyrus

    I’m 8 years old and I was clocked at 62.5 mph. Don’t say I didn’t because I did!! I ran against my dads car on the highway an I was running faster than him!!!! It was so cool!!

  • Eric

    I would like to say something to the first guy that commented: First of all, you can’t run at 62.5 miles per hour. Or you’d be in the world records.

    Second of all, Congratulations! You’ve just broken a law. Unless you live in England

  • Travon Henderson

    I’m 15, and track runs in my family, I run the 100m 200m and 4×100. My time in the 100m was 10.67,
    Then i broke .12 seconds making it 10.55 in less than 2 year. My 200n is 23.86s and I’m 3rd leg in 4×100 and that was 50.91s which is kinda slow for varsity. We also did my 40yrd dash in football which is 4.53 and u was freshman now I’m a sophomore. Ive been running track since 7th grade. So when I get old enough I will finally get a chance to Smash that 9.58 at least into a 9.45s

  • Travon Henderson

    I’m 15, and track runs in my family, I run the 100m 200m and 4×100. My time in the 100m was 10.67,
    Then i broke that by 0.12 seconds making it 10.55 in less than a year. My 200m is 23.86s and I’m 3rd leg in 4×100 and that was 50.91s which is kinda slow for varsity. We also did my 40yrd dash in football which is 4.53 and i was a freshman now I’m a sophomore. Ive been running track since 7th grade. So when I get old enough I will finally get a chance to Smash that 9.58 at least into a 9.45s

  • Roadkill

    My dog Charlie can outrun Usain Bolt! No problem. Now what you say that?

  • Claude

    I ran 100m in 5 sec… So basically, I run 44mi per hour.. My father can run much faster than me when he was young.. so imagine, if i can run 100m in 5 seconds, how many seconds did he ran it?

  • Christopher

    I agree the flash or Barry Allen is the fastest man alive.

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