Sign up FAST! Login

Machine-Learning Algorithm Calculates Fair Distance for a Race Between Usain Bolt and Long-Distance Runner Mo Farah

Machine Learning Algorithm Calculates Fair Distance for a Race Between Usain Bolt and Long Distance Runner Mo Farah MIT Technology Review


Having discovered and tested this model, Blythe and Király use it to gain insight for the first time into a number of important questions for athletes. For example, one question that marathon runners have long pondered is whether it is better to develop a higher maximum speed or to build endurance.

Blythe and Király say their model gives a clear answer: “There is only one way to be a fast marathoner, i.e., possessing a high level of endurance—as opposed to being able to coast relative to a high maximum speed,” they say.

The model also suggests that a runner who is not world-class over 10 kilometers is unlikely to be world-class over the marathon distance of 42 kilometers.

The researchers are even able to make predictions about individual athletes. One of these is Kenenisa Bekele, an Ethiopian long-distance runner who holds the world records at both 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters. Blythe and Király say their model predicts that Bekele should be able to run a marathon in 2:00:36, almost three minutes faster than the current world record.

And what of the original question about a fair distance for a race between long-distance runners and sprinters? Blythe and Király have an answer here too. “We predict that a fair race between Mo Farah and Usain Bolt is over 492m,” they say.  Now that’s a race worth waiting for.

Stashed in: Olympics!, Turing, Walk Jog Run Sprint Bolt, RUN!, Michelle Jenneke, Sport

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

Yes, but can if find the perfect race distance for a Nissan GTR and Michelle Jenneke?

Any distance is the perfect distance for that race!

You May Also Like: