Sorry Usain Bolt, These Animals Would Beat You In A Race

Sorry Usain Bolt, These Animals Would Beat You In A Race

Here are all the animals Usain Bolt can outrun
Here are all the animals Usain Bolt can outrun

Usain Bolt at the 2013 London Anniversary Games (Image credit: J. Brichto, Wikimedia Commons CC… [+] BY-SA 3.0)

Fastest man alive Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter who recently announced he has actually never run a full mile at once, is back on the track in Rio for his third Olympic games. Bolt’s sprinting prowess has earned him six gold medals at the Olympic games, but his world record 100m performance was back in 2009 at the World Championships in Berlin where he ran the 100m in 9.58 seconds. His average top speed in this event was 27 mph, which is definitely the fastest a human can run, but what about other animals? These four animals would have Bolt beat in a race.


Ostriches in Etosha National Park in Namibia (Image credit: Yathin S Krishnappa, Wikimedia Commons… [+] CC BY-SA 4.0)

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The ostrich is a large flightless bird native to Africa and achieves the fastest land speed of any bird topping out at 43 mph. The enormous avian can be up to nine feet tall and keep a sustained speed of 30 mph for 10 miles—less of a sprinter and more of a marathon runner. Their running is so fascinating that biomechanics researchers have spent time carefully mapping the limbs of the ostrich in order to better understand dinosaur locomotion.


Speaking of dinosaurs, how fast could they run? A 2007 paper using computer simulations estimates that Compsognathus, a small dinosaur the size of a turkey, was likely the fastest of them all with a maximum land speed of 40 mph. The same article simulates the max speed of Velociraptor to be 23 mph, so there is a chance that matchup could be won by Bolt should he find himself in Jurassic Park.


A notoriously fast dog bred for speed, they can run up to 43 mph. They were originally bred for coursing, or game chasing, but were later raced on tracks in the late 19th century.

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The microscopic mite Lorryia formosa (Image Credit: Photo by Eric Erbe; digital colorization by… [+] Chris Pooley, Public Domain)

For this race to work, the mite would have to be scaled up to human size—but relatively speaking this arachnid is one of the fastest animals around. If speed relative to body length is taken into account, Paratarsotomus macropalpis, a mite endemic to southern California, is the fastest organism on Earth. This mite can run 322 body lengths per second. A cheetah? Only 16. The equivalent speed for a human running this fast would be 1,300 mph!

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