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Can Physics Help Athletes Run Faster on a Curve Track

  • Katherine H Han Palo Alto Senior High School


Sprinting on a curve is slower than sprinting on a straight lane. To explain this phenomenon, various models based on a combination of biological and physical assumptions have been developed. These models depend on detailed parameters that significantly differ for each individual athlete. Here, we propose a general model solely based on kinetic theory of physics that can be universally applied to all athletes. By solving the force and torque equations for the running speed of the athletes on a curved track, we analyzed sprinting speeds between the inner and outer curves. Applying the data from the classic works into our models, we find that our results and conclusions are mostly aligned with the previous works while our approach is built on the accurate physics principles and contains no uncontrollable parameters. Further we show how runners can alleviate the centrifugal effect of curved track by tilting their bodies and we quantitatively determine the optimal tilting angle for a given curvature.


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How to Cite
Han, K. (2018). Can Physics Help Athletes Run Faster on a Curve Track. International Journal of Physical Education, Fitness and Sports, 7(3), 24-31.