Which animals take part in the persistence hunt

Can trained people run faster than any other animal on a marathon distance?

We just have to look at sled dogs and do a little math.

In 1986, Susan Butcher broke the 1981 record set by Rick Swenson by covering the 1,049 miles in 11 days.

1049/11 = 95 miles per day. This dwarfs a marathon, and marathon runners don't pull sleds. However, there are other races where we can do 71 miles a day. This is for self-transcendence pretending to be the longest foot race on the planet. The Iditarod is in particularly cold climates. There is a 100 km fall in 6:13. 100 km is 62 miles which is starting to get within Iditarod range. Someone also ran the AT, 2000 miles in over 50 days. Neither of these accomplishments conquers the mile that Iditarod Champion Dogs eat 95 miles a day.

Most of the speculation I read is that the dogs only outperform us in the cold. However, there is no comparable option in warm climates (tobogganing requires snow, but if anyone has an example I'll include it), so it's not clear that this is because the dog is unable to make the comparison to people who have no reason. Method / desire to drive long distances with dogs in warmer climates. Dogs can deal with warmer locations in everyday life, for example there are dingoes in hot and inhospitable areas like the Simpson Desert in Australia.

One reason for this is that it was invented. Humans are the only species that creates physical challenges, with humans training a large portion of their lives to overcome this purely made-up challenge. The only animal I could find that beats us is an animal we used to compete for the same purpose. The comparison breaks down with most other animals, not because they're not fast, but because it's not accurate to compare an Olympic marathon runner to the average (as opposed to the best) kangaroo. But it is not really possible (within ethical contradictions) to find the "best" Kanagaroo. But even in this fictional competition, we are not the best.

If you were to compare the average person, we would do less well, but that comparison is also more difficult to achieve because we would need to have numbers about what the average person can do.

The other animal that came to mind is the ostrich. Unfortunately I have only found Wikipedia so far. I'm still looking for more on this, but the quotes look nice, so:

People run ostriches in Africa Oo

When pursued by a predator, they are known to reach speeds in excess of 70 kilometers per hour and can maintain a constant speed of 50 kilometers per hour, making the ostrich the fastest two in the world with legs.

These birds blow us over in both short and long distance runs (we can't even get anywhere near 31 miles per hour) and they can handle a temperature range of 104 degrees Fahrenheit. , which is not as big as ours, but is far above the climate "just cold".

Somehow I want to see an ostrich marathon :)


Is that for a sled dog (95 miles / day)? How about a human-horse comparison? I think there are horses that are trained for maximum endurance. Even if we couldn't order food over the Internet and would have to "search" for food, there would probably be a lot less "fats" :) According to studies, children have become more and more inathletic over the last few decades. So yes, the average joe is likely in pretty bad shape compared to the average animal (that doesn't live in a zoo), but trained horses / athletes look a lot like me.

A. Rex

Long distance running is not invented by nature. For example, in Africa there are "persistence hunters" who shut down an animal by tiring it. See e.g. B. youtube.com/watch?v=fUpo_mA5RP8 - a human runner chases a kudu over ~ 30 km in two to five hours. In this case, not being able to escape a person over a marathon distance is not invented: it is life or death.

Russell Steen

The intent is not to say that all endurance running is made up, but "let's go out and run while I can't run for any reason other than proving that I can run" is certainly made up. 30 kilometers in two to five hours is not a marathon. The top marathon time is around two hours and that's 42 kilometers. The claim is not "humans are faster than some animals at a distance", the claim is that humans are faster than all animals at a distance, and that claim is not true.

A. Rex

The Iditarod is a great example! I just read a scientific article that claimed that nonhuman animals could only walk long distances in cool conditions that lower the potential for hyperthermia. It never occurred to me that this is one thing that makes the Iditarod possible. Do you have any other examples of fast distance runners in temperate climates?


@russell I specified the question a bit more. Your answer is imo correct, but you can add or specify a little bit the temperature / distance problem as these seem to be the deciding factors. Or we get the question of how people compare against animals in the 2xmarathon :) I think it's okay if you just mention that a 2xmarathon can drastically change the ranking. If you are interested, you can use the links given here.