How fast do cows run? (A partial answer)
One question that has bothered us and a number of visitors is:
How fast can a cow run?
Well, we have a partial answer.
Michigan State University held a number of cow races. The race
rules require each cow to have a saddle and a rider. The race
distance is one mile. The results can be found at
The fastest cow time was in 2003. Little Witch ran the track in
7 minutes, 31.54 seconds.
That translates into about 8 miles per hour (12.8 km/hour).
Not especially fast. A human who runs a 4-minute mile is faster.
But consider that the distance the cow ran was an entire mile.
And that she carried a saddle and rider on her back. So that is
pretty fast after all (imaging running a mile with someone on your
But, we still don't know how fast an unencumbered cow can run,
especially for a shorter distance. We'll have to keep looking to see
what the absolute top speed is for a cow in a sprint. We've seen some
guesses on the Internet in the range of 15 - 20 miles per hour, but
these are not supported by evidence (such as a link to a agricultural
college or similar, reputable source).
For those of you who want to know the math...
7 minutes 31.54 seconds is 451.54 seconds.
The cow ran 1 mile in this time: 1 mile / 451.54 seconds.
There are 3600 seconds in 1 hour. So,
(1 mile / 451.54 seconds) * (3600 seconds / 1 hour) =
7.9727 miles / hour
Since 1 km is 0.62137 miles, we can multiply by the conversion
(7.9727 miles / hour) * (1 km / 0.62137 miles) = 12.831 km / hour