Even though horses aren’t one of the fastest animals on the planet, they are still incredibly fast. Racehorses are some of the fastest horses on the planet, and it is easy to see why. They are trained to do so, and running is in their bloodline. 

So, what is the fastest horse ever? Well, the fastest horse reached close to 44mph or around 71 km, which is pretty impressive.

This leads to the question, can a human outrun a horse?

To calculate which will win a horse or a human in a race, we have to set a few variables that make a difference. First of all, the distance is really important. Even though racehorses can reach incredible speed, they cannot run that fast for a long time. The situation is the same for humans.

But which can last longer and inevitably win the race?

It is quite a funny question, but you’ll be surprised to find out that there is a race meeting where incredibly fit humans go against horses. Yep, it is a real thing organized in Wales and many different places on the planet.

So do humans or horses win?

Let’s find out.

Horses vs Humans – Which are Faster?

The truth is that horses can easily outrun humans over such a long distance. Winning Brew attained the highest horse speed on record of 43.97 mph in the United States in May of 2008. That equates to a top-speed 100m time of slightly more than 5 seconds. Another example is Kingston Rule, the quickest Melbourne Cup winner, who is believed to have hit a high speed of 36.47 mph, resulting in a 6.1 second 100m at top speed.

For comparison, a Cheetah can run 100m in 3.9 seconds. Usian Bolt is reported to have attained a peak speed of 27.42 mph, which is 8.2 seconds at top speed (again, without taking into account that individuals have to get into their stride). This is far slower than the pace of a horse. In reality, his performance is more equivalent to that of a….. wombat, which can achieve speeds of 24.85 mph over a 100m span in 9 seconds.

What about a longer distance? 

Ironically, you should ask because as we mentioned before, the Welsh village of Llanwrtyd Wells hosts an annual 22-mile Man vs Horse Marathon (as well as additional Man versus Horse races in Scotland, New Zealand, and elsewhere). 

It began when a landlord overheard two men arguing in his tavern over whether a man could beat a horse over a substantial distance. The race pits runners against horseback riders. 

Since 1980, a horse has won every year except two, making a clear winner on this front as well. Michael Wardian, an American ultrarunner, attempted it in 2019. He didn’t need to worry because he couldn’t beat both the quickest horse and the fastest runner!

Do Humans Have Any Chance?

Beating a horse in a footrace seemed implausible at first, but after doing some research, I think we have a chance. We frequently establish self-imposed limitations on our abilities. 

Not because we can’t, but because we don’t realize we have the ability to do so. So, if others scoff at your concept, but you’ve done the research that indicates it has a possibility of succeeding, don’t be hesitant to put it to the test.

So, what are the odds of humans beating a horse? Well, I’d say 200/1. If you don’t know how to read odds, check out this guide from TwinSpires.

The only way for humans to beat horses is in a long endurance race.

A race longer than 25 miles. This means that we need a really tough athlete who will be able to maintain a constant speed for a longer distance.

According to experts, horses can trot for around 20 miles without needing a break. After that, they are exhausted and need to rest. Additionally, horses cannot gallop at full speed for longer than 2 miles.

Therefore, the idea of humans beating horses in a race might be possible after all.

With that said, horses are tough animals, and to beat them, a sprint race is out of the question.

Humans can run for a longer period. We’ve seen some incredible ultramarathons where superhuman athletes manage to run for hundreds of miles. So, if we set up a race between a fit marathon athlete and a horse, there is a good chance that the horse will become tired and the human will eventually win.

But in the real world, humans cannot outperform horses, and that’s a fact. After all, they are huge animals with quite bigger muscles than humans and therefore can achieve higher speeds.

If humans were faster than horses, then horse racing wouldn’t be as popular as it is today.