Who Runs Faster, a Person or a Horse?

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

Who Runs Faster, a Person or a Horse?

September 19, 2017

Can you run faster than a horse? Not if the horse is running its fastest. But you might be able to run fast for LONGER than a horse. The world-record horse speed is 44 miles per hour for a quarter mile, while the fastest running by a human is about 27 miles per hour (by Olympian sprinter Usain Bolt). But in 1980 a Welsh guy named Gordon Green said, hey, people can outrun horses over a long distance, since a horse can’t keep up its top speed for very long. So he and his friends started the Man vs. Horse race. Dozens of horses and people run for almost 22 miles. They run the race every year, and a couple of times a person has actually won! What we do know is that at the end of it, both the people and the horses need a good long nap.

Wee ones: Who has more legs, a man or a horse?

Little kids: When 1 person and 1 horse race, how many running legs do they have together?  Bonus: If the human gets too tired and stops just 1 mile from the end of the 22 miles, how many miles did he run?

Big kids: If horses have a top speed of 44 miles per hour and humans can run 27 miles per hour, how much faster can horses run than people?  Bonus: 2004 had the most people and animals running: exactly 500 people and 40 horses. How many legs did they have altogether?

The sky’s the limit: If the fastest horse runs twice as fast as the fastest person, and they run straight at each other from 60 miles apart, how far from the horse’s starting point do they meet?




Wee ones: A horse, which has 4 legs vs. 2.

Little kids: 6 legs.  Bonus: 21 miles.

Big kids: 17 miles per hour faster.  Bonus: 1,160 legs: 1,000 legs on the people, 160 on the horses.

The sky’s the limit: 40 miles from where the horse started. For every chunk of distance the person runs, the horse runs 2 of them, so that makes 3 parts total…so the person runs just 1/3 of the total 60 miles, and the horse runs 2/3 of it.

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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