The average human walking speed is in the neighborhood of 3 mph (4.8 km/h). How fast do you think you could run at a full sprint? 10 mph? 15 mph? What speed could you average over 26.2 miles?

Below, I have taken several men’s and women’s world records and calculated the runners’ average speed. Usain Bolt has averaged over 23 miles per hour in both the 100 and 200 meter events.

Men’s World Records Translated Into Average Speeds

EventRecordAthletemphft/skm/hm/s
60 m (indoor)6.34 sChristian Coleman21.1731.0534.079.46
100 m9.58 sUsain Bolt23.3534.2537.5810.44
200 m19.19 sUsain Bolt23.3134.1937.5210.42
400 m43.03 sWayde van Niekerk20.7930.5033.479.30
800 m1:40.91David Rudisha17.7326.0128.547.93
1,000 m2:11.96Noah Ngeny16.9624.8727.297.58
1,500 m3:26.00Hicham El Geerrouj16.2823.8826.217.28
Mile3:43.13Hicham El Geerrouj16.1323.6525.967.21
5,000 m12:37.35Kenenisa Bekele14.7621.6523.766.60
10,000 m26:17.53Kenenisa Bekele14.1820.8022.826.34
Half Marathon58:23Zersenay Tadese13.4719.7621.686.02
Marathon2:01:39Eliud Kipchoge12.9318.9720.815.78
110 m hurdles12.80 sAries Merritt19.2228.1930.948.59
400 m hurdles46.78 sKevin Young19.1328.0530.788.55
4×100 m relay36.84 sNesta Carter,
Michael Frater,
Yohan Blake,
Usain Bolt
24.1235.3738.8110.78
4×200 m relay1:18.63Nickel Ashmeade,
Warren Weir,
Jermaine Brown,
Yohan Blake
22.7633.3836.6310.17
4×400 m relay2:54.29Andrew Valmon,
Quincy Watts,
Butch Reynolds,
Michael Johnson
20.5430.1233.059.18
4×800 m relay7:02.43Joseph Mutua,
William Yiampoy,
Ismael Kombich,
Wilfred Bungei
16.9624.8727.297.58

Women’s World Records Translated Into Average Speeds

EventRecordAthletemphft/skm/hm/s
60 m (indoor)6.92Irina Privalova19.3928.4431.218.67
100 m10.49 sFlorence Griffith Joyner21.3231.2734.319.53
200 m21.34 sFlorence Griffith Joyner20.9630.7433.739.37
400 m47.60 sMarita Koch18.7927.6030.248.40
800 m1:53.28Jarmila Kratochvílová15.7923.1625.427.06
1,000 m2:28.98Svetlana Masterkova15.0122.0124.166.71
1,500 m3:50.07Genzebe Dibaba14.5821.3923.476.52
Mile4:12.33Sifan Hassan14.2720.9222.966.38
5,000 m14:11.15Tirunesh Dibaba13.1319.2621.135.87
10,000 m29:17.45Almaz Ayana12.7318.6720.485.69
Half Marathon1:04:31Ababel Yeshaneh12.1917.8819.625.45
Marathon2:14:04Brigid Kosgei11.7317.2118.885.25
100 m hurdles12.20 sKendra Harrison18.3426.8929.518.20
400 m hurdles52.16 sDalilah Muhammad17.1525.1627.617.67
4×100 m relay40.82 sTianna Madison,
Allyson Felix,
Bianca Knight,
Carmelita Jeter
21.9232.1535.289.80
4×200 m relay1:27.46LaTasha Jenkins,
LaTasha Colander-
Richardson,
Nanceen Perry,
Marion Jones
20.4529.9932.909.14
4×400 m relay3:15.17Tatyana Ledovskaya,
Olga Nazarova,
Mariya Pinigina,
Olga Bryzgina
18.3426.9029.528.20
4×800 m relay7:50.17Nadezhda Olizarenko,
Lyubov Gurina,
Lyudmila Borisova,
Irina Podyalovskaya
15.2322.3424.526.81

It’s interesting to note that the 60 meter race has a slower average speed for both men and women than the 100 meter race. This must be because accelerating at the start of a race takes some time.

These world records were last updated April 2020.