Feb 21, 2010

Run like a Husky!

From an old but interesting Cornell press release:

  • The average Alaskan husky running in the Iditarod burns about 11,000 calories a day. To put that in perspective, compare a 44-pound dog with a 175- to 180-pound human in an endurance event like the (Tour de France) bicycle race. On a body-weight basis, an Iditarod racer eats and burns about eight times as much as a Tour de France cyclist.

  • In another physiological parameter, the maximal oxygen uptake, or VO2 max, the huskies also are champs. The human who won the 1996 Olympic marathon in Atlanta had VO2 max of about 75 mils of oxygen per kilogram of body weight. Dogs running in the Cornell sled dog team have VO2 maxes as high as 240 -- three times as high as the very best human athletes in the world.

  • The average human recreational runner in an endurance event such as a marathon usually clocks 9-minute miles. Alaskan huskies in the 1,000-mile Iditarod, running in a variety of harrowing conditions that would turn a human marathoner blue, average 9 or 10 mph -- the equivalent of a 6-minute mile. And the dog teams are pulling sleds that weigh, at the beginning of the race, between 300 and 400 pounds.


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