Do Taller People Run Faster?

All things being equal -- body mass, flexibility, proportionality and stride rate -- then taller people can run faster than shorter people. However, the mechanics of running depends upon more than runner height. Proportionality and flexibility impact stride length, as two individuals of the same height can have different leg lengths and varying amounts of hip flexibility. But the most significant factor influencing running speed is the force of the runner's contact with the ground upon each footstrike.

A woman runs on a cobblestone path through the park. (Image: gofugui/iStock/Getty Images)

Force at Ground Contact

Stride length and stride rate are both affected by the force of your footstrike, with shorter foot-to-ground contact resulting in a faster run. But no one characteristic -- such as being tall -- can make you run fast. Footstrike impact requires strength, and stride length further depends upon flexibility in your hips, quads and hamstrings. Long legs can help, but tall people do not necessarily run faster than shorter people.

Load comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.