When we think of cows, we usually picture them gracefully and calmly resting in a pasture. But cows can actually move pretty fast if the need arises. If an angry or startled cow starts charging toward you, your first thought would probably be to run and avoid danger at all costs. After all, nobody wants to get crushed or rammed by a cow.
Do you run faster than a cow?
On average, humans cannot run faster than cows, so you stand very little chance of outrunning one. Cattle are very fast for their size, and they will trump the average human in a race going in a straight path.
However, cows cannot change their direction as quickly as humans can, and this is to man’s advantage.
If you’re new to the idea of cows running, and running faster than a person can, then you probably have more questions. Let’s explore some facts that explain how cows and humans compare in a foot (or hoof) race.
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Run Speed: Cows vs. Humans
How Fast Do Cows Run?
On average, a cow can cover approximately 328 feet in about 12.8 seconds. This equals to roughly 17 miles per hour (mph). There is even a record of a cow recorded to run as fast as 25 mph.
Cows that are startled can tend to show a quick burst of speed, and their cloven hooves make for more sure footing in damp or soft ground compared with horses.
How Fast Do Cows Walk?
On average, cows walk at a pace of 180 feet per min (2.05 mph). But they’ve been recorded to walk as fast as 2.11 mph.
How Fast Can a Human Run?
The average speed in humans is influenced by certain factors such as age, gender, fitness, and body size. Other factors that affect human speed are shoes, distance covered, the running course, and weather. Generally, adults 18-60 years old run between 6.2 mph and 8.7 mph.
Men between 18-60 years old have average speeds between 7.1 mph and 8.5 mph. Women of the same age range have speeds between 6.3 mph and 7.3 mph.
Most professional athletes run at speeds around 15 mph. The fastest speed recorded for men in a 100-meter sprint is about 27.8 mph.
This speed was achieved by Usain Bolt in his record-breaking race back in 2009. The fastest speed recorded for women in a 100-m sprint is thought to be over 24 mph. This was achieved by Florence Griffith Joyner in 1988.
Can a Person Outrun a Cow?
Now that we know cow and human average run speeds, it’s clear that the average human cannot outrun a cow. If a cow is walking, a human has a chance to get a head start or time to find a way to avoid getting into a race.
What to Do If a Cow Is Running Toward You
You should be careful around cows because if they are angered, startled, or made to feel threatened, they can rampage and run individually or as a herd. Getting into a run down with a cow could result in serious injury.
Cows have four legs, and their coordination is not as good as a human’s two-legged agility. Cows cannot change their direction quickly or accurately when running.
The easiest way to avoid having to outrun a cow is to not be in proximity to them in the first place. You should never enter a cow pasture or approach cows that are not your own.
That being said, what if you are out on a hike in cattle country. What to do then?
While you can’t outrun a cow, here are some ways to manage if a cow is running toward you.
- If there is only one cow and it’s close to you, do not run.
- Be calm. You may stand your ground, stay still, or keep walking quickly but quietly.
- Do not turn your back to the cow; let your body keep facing it.
- Avoid looking directly in the eyes of the cow.
- After taking precautions, if the cow still charges at you, strike its nose with a trekking pole or something similar. You must land a precise hit on the nose. Also, avoid waving the trekking pole or your arms, or you will anger the cow more.
- If the cow is not close, and you can get away quickly, run. Preferably, run until you get to a place where there’s a barrier, like a fence, between you and the cow.
- If you have a dog with you, and the cow is running toward you, unleash the dog. The cow will go after the dog, and the dog will take care of itself.
- If there is more than one cow, run as fast as you can to the edge of the field. Get behind a fence or climb a tree.
- Try running in zig-zag patterns and changing your direction often. Cattle cannot easily change direction when running.
Cows are surprisingly fast animals when they need (or want) to be. If you find yourself being chased down by a cow, you will likely not be able to outrun it. But there are some ways you can manage to stay safe and avoid injury for both you and the animal if you find yourself in a race with a cow.