How Fast Can An Average Human Run? (Explained)

How Fast Can An Average Human Run
How Fast Can An Average Human Run

When it comes to human abilities, running is one that has fascinated us for centuries. From sprinters who break records on the track to marathon runners who endure long distances, the speed at which humans can run varies significantly.

This article will explore the fascinating world of human running capabilities, exploring the factors influencing speed, the fastest recorded speeds, and what makes some individuals exceptionally fast runners.

How Fast Can An Average Human Run?

The average human can run around 12 miles per hour (19.31 kilometers per hour). This is the speed that most people can comfortably maintain for a short period. However, there is a wide range of running speeds among humans, and some people can run much faster than this.

The fastest human ever recorded is Usain Bolt, who ran the 100-meter dash in 9.58 seconds in 2009. This speed is 27.78 miles per hour (44.71 kilometers per hour). However, it is important to note that this is a sprint speed, and most people cannot maintain it for more than a few seconds.

For longer distances, the average human running speed is much slower. For example, the average marathon time for men is around 4 hours and 15 minutes, and the average marathon time for women is around 4 hours and 45 minutes. This corresponds to a running speed of around 10 miles per hour (16.09 kilometers per hour).

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What are the Factors Influencing Running Speed?

Some of the factors that affect how fast a human can run include:

1. Age

Age plays a significant role in running speed. Children tend to be naturally faster runners due to their lower body weight and higher energy levels. However, as individuals age, their running speed often decreases due to muscle mass and strength changes.

2. Gender

On average, men tend to be faster runners than women. This difference is largely attributed to physiological factors such as muscle mass and testosterone levels. However, it’s important to note that there are numerous exceptions, and many women are incredibly fast runners.

3. Fitness Level

Physical fitness is a critical determinant of running speed. Well-trained athletes can achieve much higher speeds than sedentary individuals. Regular training improves cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength, and overall running efficiency.

4. Genetics

Genetics also play a role in running speed. Some individuals are genetically predisposed to be faster runners due to their muscle fiber composition and aerobic capacity. However, genetics is just one piece of the puzzle, and training and dedication can make a substantial difference.

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What is the Fastest Recorded Running Speed?

Sprinting Records:

1. Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter, holds the world record for the fastest 100-meter dash, clocking an astonishing 9.58 seconds. His incredible speed and stride length have made him a legend in the sprinting world.

2. Florence Griffith-Joyner

Florence Griffith-Joyner, or “Flo-Jo,” set the women’s 100-meter dash world record with 10.49 seconds in 1988. Her record remains unbroken to this day.

Marathon Records:

1. Eliud Kipchoge

Eliud Kipchoge, a Kenyan long-distance runner, made history by completing a marathon in under two hours at 1:59:40. This achievement showcased the incredible endurance and speed of elite marathon runners.

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What Makes Some People Exceptionally Fast?

Training and Dedication

Exceptionally fast runners dedicate countless hours to training. They follow rigorous workout routines focusing on speed, strength, and endurance. Professional coaching and access to state-of-the-art equipment also contribute to their success.


The biomechanics of running play a crucial role in speed. Elite runners have efficient techniques that maximize their stride length and minimize energy waste. Every aspect of their form, from foot strike to arm movement, is finely tuned.

Mental Toughness

Running at exceptional speeds requires mental toughness. Elite runners learn to push through pain and fatigue, maintaining their focus on the finish line. Mental resilience is often the difference between victory and defeat.


Is there a limit to how fast humans can run?

While there may be physical limits to human running speed, athletes continue to push the boundaries, and records are constantly being broken. The potential for faster speeds remains an exciting area of research and competition.

How does age affect running speed?

Running speed typically decreases with age due to muscle mass and strength changes. However, older individuals can maintain and improve speed with appropriate training.

Can anyone become a fast runner with training?

While genetics can influence running speed, consistent training and dedication can help individuals improve their running capabilities and become faster runners.

What is the fastest speed ever recorded for a human runner?

The fastest recorded speed for a human runner is approximately 27.8 miles per hour (44.7 kilometers per hour), achieved by Usain Bolt during his world record 100-meter dash.


Human running speed is a complex and multifaceted subject. While the average person may never reach the speeds of world-class sprinters or marathoners, everyone can improve their running capabilities through training and dedication. Genetics may play a role, but the human spirit and determination drive exceptional performance in the running.



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