Usain Bolt is the fastest track runner in the 100 and 200. Can he also do similar times running a mile?

  • Share:
  • facebook
  • linkedin
  • twitter
Recently, the New Yorker featured Usain Bolt, the world record holder for the 100 and 200 and is considered the fastest sprinter. The fastest miler comes in at three minutes and 55 seconds.  Very few elite runners are able to break 4 minutes. With Bolts ability to run short races at amazing times, considering how his body is built, it is reasonable to consider that he should be able to run a fast mile, but maybe not. Training is one of those things that may determine his ability to maintain and endure a high speed mile.   Usain is a fast twitch muscle guy (white muscle fibers), meaning he trains for short races at amazing speeds, while other runners including milers train differently so that red fibers which are more about endurance are developed to allow a faster and better paced long distance race. Can he do both the short and the longer distances with equal speed? Even his chiropractor may not help him make that happen unless he changes how he trains. Check out how the New Yorker makes the case that although Usain does an awesome 100 and 200, he may not be able to compete with college-level elite longer distance milers.


By Charles Bethea , AUGUST 1, 2016 Three minutes, forty-three seconds, and thirteen hundredths of a second is the fastest that a human has ever run a mile, as far as we know. Hicham El Guerrouj, a Moroccan middle-distance runner who was then twenty-four years old, accomplished the feat in 1999, averaging slightly more than sixteen miles per hour as he sped around Rome"™s Olympic Stadium track. A determined wisp of a man, El Guerrouj weighed a hundred and twenty-eight pounds at the time and stood five feet nine inches tall in his running socks. Those few who"™ve come close to running a mile as fast as El Guerrouj have been roughly the same size, and that"™s not a coincidence: if you wish to run middle or long distances quickly, it helps to travel light. The Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, on the other hand, has "œone of mankind"™s most sculpted bodies," as GQ put it a few years ago: he is eight inches taller than El Guerrouj and weighs more than two hundred pounds. When the six-time Olympic gold medalist set his hundred-metre world record of 9.58 seconds in Berlin, in 2009, at the age of twenty-two, he averaged more than twenty-three miles per hour, peaking at more than twenty-seven. He couldn"™t sustain that pace over a continuous mile, of course; his best two-hundred-metre (19.19), four-hundred-metre (45.28), and eight-hundred-metre (2:10) times make that clear. So how much would Bolt slow down while running a full mile? Could he run that distance in less than, say, five minutes? Read more