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100-meter sprint world record could go as low as 9.48 seconds
Date:11/27/2008

rough the years, it seems as if men still haven't reached their top speeds at any distance and Denny predicts that male 100m sprinters could one day get the record down to an incredible 9.48s, running 0.23m/s faster than Usain Bolt's current world record of 9.69s. Meanwhile, female sprinters' top annual speeds levelled off in the 1970s, suggesting that any improvement in their speed was not due to a population increase. However, Denny suspects that female sprinters have room for improvement too, and predicts that they could eventually knock more than 0.4s of the current 100m world record to cover the distance in 10.19s.

Looking at marathon runners, Denny predicts that males could cut the current world record, held by Haile Gebrselassie, by between 2min7s and 4min23s. And when he calculates the top speed that a human female marathon runner could achieve, Denny suspects that women could eventually cross the 42,195m finishing line in 2h12min41s. He adds that Paula Radcliffe's current world record of 2h15min25s is very close to his average prediction for the maximum marathon speed and suspects that female marathon runners could be the first group to approach his predictions and test whether they hold.

Denny is pleased to have shown that it is possible to calculate the absolute limits to speed of running animals ranging from humans to thoroughbred horses. However, he emphasises that we have no idea what aspect of physiology restricts runners' performances, and is keen to find out what will prevent future gold medal winners from breaking Denny's Limits.


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Contact: Kathryn Phillips
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The Company of Biologists
Source:Eurekalert

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