How Fast Can a Human Run 100m?

Usain Bolt Lightning BoltUsain Bolt (Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images)

By Seth Rubinroit

Usain Bolt shattered the 100m world record, lowering it from 9.74 seconds in 2007 to 9.58 seconds in 2009.

But could he go faster?

Australian exercise physiologist Jeremy Richmond believes that the ultimate human running speed for 100m is 9.27 seconds, according to his article in the IAAF’s “New Studies in Athletics.”

Runner’s World summarized what an elite sprinter would need to do to lower his or her time:

“Richmond believes that Bolt and sprinters of his caliber have already maximized the amount of force they apply to the track when sprinting. That leaves just one crucial variable that can be improved–ground contact time. The faster you put ’em down and pick ’em up, the faster you can run.

Studies of top sprinters have shown they have reached a ground contact time of 80 milliseconds. Richmond thinks this can be lowered to 70 milliseconds. He bases this on studies of fast-twitch muscle fiber contractions, and of quadriceps muscle contractions.

If Bolt or a future record holder can run 100 meters with Bolt’s force production, plus a ground contact time of just 70 milliseconds, he’ll reach a top speed of 12.75 meters per second. That’s 28.53 miles per hour, and it would lower the 100-meter record to 9.27 seconds, Richmond says.”

Do you think a human can run 100m in 9.27 seconds? Let us know on the Universal Sports Facebook page.

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