5AM Runner

Bolting Away


Usain Bolt 001I think this guy is basically super-human, he has to be!

No, really, the whole world is now talking about this man, Usain Bolt – what a name, by the way – as he seems to have broken all the possible records that ever existed in the sport of running / sprinting.  Well, let me throw some numbers at you, just to comprehend what this presumably human machine is able to do.

Can you imagine running 100 meters in just 9.58 seconds?  That’s faster than most of you normally drive!  This Bolt is doing some serious bolting, because apparently he is beating his nearest competition by wide margins.  And of course, when a phenomenon like this comes along, most people want to know what exactly this guy is doing to achieve such super-human record speeds… My personal opinion is that he has mini-rocket launchers in his shoes, and probably another one in yet another convenient spot in the back (use your imagination), which propel him beyond the speed of a bullet…. However, the scientists took a more serious approach to figuring this man out, and here is what they came up with:

Believe it or not, Bolt is moving his legs at about the same rate as any average person would, and certainly not any faster than his current competitors, in fact some say – even slower!  In fact, the scientists discovered that the quickness of one’s legs has nothing to do with running fast.  So what does?  Apparently, it’s the force with which you push your foot into the ground, to create the spring-like effect.  Therefore, if you subscribe to this theory, Bolt must be pushing the ground underneath him harder than your regular garden-variety elephant!  I am not joking – somehow the scientists figured out that Bolt is applying no less than 1,000 pounds of force for each of his steps!

The second element of that equation is how long that pushing force to the ground is applied.  According to research, the average person's foot is on the ground for about .12 seconds, while an Olympic sprinter's foot is touching the ground for just .08 seconds, which represents a 60-percent difference.

So why is Bolt faster than most elite sprinters?  Simple – he accelerates faster than Porsche Turbo, enabling him to achieve his top speed in a matter of moments.  And this is something no scientist will ever be able to quantify.

And can Bolt cover the 100 meters even faster than 9.58 seconds at some point?  Well, some people say that you can’t really beat the 9.5 seconds mark, ever, no way, no how.  But something tells me that about 20 years ago, no one could conceive being able to run 100 meters in under 10 seconds, and now some of us are doing it.  In every generation, a new Bolt somehow appears, with a truly unique combination of height, weight, and most importantly – acceleration.  And somehow the impossible suddenly becomes possible, and the truth is, if this particular Bolt continues to work on improving his acceleration techniques, who knows what he may be able to achieve?

Keep it running!