Fitness Testing

Fitness Testing Records

How fast can you run?

sprinting manSpeed and Acceleration Test Records

The 100m Sprint is often the benchmark for speed, and the world record holder is labelled "the world's fastest man". The 100m World Record has had this evolution:

  Time (seconds) Date
Donald Lippincott (U.S.) 10.6 July 6, 1912
Charles Paddock (U.S.) 10.4 April 23, 1921
Percy Williams (Canada) 10.3 Aug. 9, 1930
Jesse Owens (U.S.) 10.2 June 20, 1936
Willie Williams (U.S.) 10.1 Aug. 3, 1956
Armin Hary (West Germany) 10.0 June 21, 1960
Jim Hines (U.S.) 9.99 June 20, 1968
Jim Hines (U.S.) 9.95 Oct. 14, 1968
Calvin Smith (U.S.) 9.93 July 3, 1983
Carl Lewis (U.S.) 9.92 Sept. 24, 1988
Leroy Burrell (U.S.) 9.90 June 14, 1991
Carl Lewis (U.S.) 9.86 Aug. 25, 1991
Leroy Burrell (U.S.) 9.85 July 6, 1994
Donovan Bailey (Canada) 9.84 July 27, 1996
Maurice Greene (U.S.) 9.79 June 16, 1999
Tim Montgomery (U.S.) 9.78 Sept. 14, 2002 (doped)
Asafa Powell (Jamaica) 9.77 June 14, 2005
Asafa Powell (Jamaica) 9.74 Sept 9, 2007
Usain Bolt (Jamaica) 9.72 May 31, 2008
Usain Bolt (Jamaica) 9.69 Aug 16, 2008
Usain Bolt (Jamaica) 9.58 Aug 16, 2009

Average Speed versus Maximum Speed

If you take the average speed of the current world 100 m record, you get about 23 miles/hr. However, if you were to record instantaneous speed at differetn points throughout the race, the runner would be at a a maximum speed much greater than this. An article in the August 1996 Sports Illustrated, mentioned that Canadian Donovan Bailey reached a speed of 27.1 miles per hour at the 60-meter mark of his world record breaking race.

As the sprinters start from a stationary position, some time is taken up in accelerating up to top speed. Maurice Greene's 9.79 calculates out to an average of 10.2 meters/sec or 36.8 km/hr. The longer the sprint race, the less percentage of time is taken up with accelerating. Michael Johnson's time of 43.18 sec for the 400 meters gives a faster average time, 9.3 meters/sec or 33.3 km/hr.

Donovan Bailey's 9.84s over 100 meters gives him an average speed of 10.16 m/s. Michael Johnson's 19.32s over 200 meters earns him 10.35 m/s, and 9.10s for the last 100 meters of that rqace has him reaching 10.99 m/s. At the 1997 Athens World Championships, Maurice Green ran a wind-aided 9.86 seconds for 100 meters. In this race, 10 m split times were accurately recorded, and from this it was calculaed that Green reached a top speed of 11.8 m/s.


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