Feature - Achilles tendon a blessing, not a curse
Sprinters lining up for the start of the Women’s 100-meter at the Beijing Olympics. Image courtesy LIM CK, under Creative Commons license.
Compared with other runners on this planet, humans are feeble.
If Olympic sprinters competed against mammals of comparable size, they would never even qualify for the finals. The top speed for an in-shape male human is normally between 15 and 18 miles per hour (24 to 29 kilometers per hour). The world record is 27 mph (43kmh), and that was sustainable for only a few seconds.
Meanwhile, horses have been clocked at about 48 miles per hour, wolves about 42, and the speed champion — the cheetah — at 70 miles per hour. (That’s about 77 kmh, 68 kmh, and 113 kmh, respectively.)
Even warthogs are faster than us.
But in the field of endurance racing however, we leave everyone else in the dust. Over long distances, a well-trained human can outrun a horse.
What is the ke