Armin Hary and the Famous 10.0 sec 100m World Record

Here is a great article from Läufer des Jahrhunderts – Die atemberaubende Karriere des Armin Hary – 14) 1960 – Hary, strahlende Nummer 1 – GIPFELTÄNZE II.

It’s in German, so I translated the article with Google translate (as bad as it may be sometimes) and put the English version side-by-side.

You can download the PDF here (PDF, 515 Kb).

Bud Winter’s original 1964 book The Rocket Sprint Start is a detailed analysis of Armin Hary’s Rocket Start.

There’s a lot of good history in the article, and they too are obsessed with 10 meter splits and top end speed in kph (or mph):

  • At 5 meters, his split was 1.6 seconds, with a speed of 18 km / hr.
  • At 30 meters, or 3.7 seconds, speed 35 kph
  • At 65 meters, or 6.9 seconds, speed 39.6 kph (or 24.6 mph)
  • At 80 meters, or 8.2 seconds, speed still 39.6 kph
  • At 100 meters, or 10.0 seconds, speed "only" 38.9 kph

NOTE: the above times are hand times.

How good was this 50 years ago?

Compare that to Bolt’s electronic splits (more on Usain Bolt 10 Meter Splits and Top End Speed):

  • 30m = 3.78
  • 80m = 7.92
  • 100m = 9.58

So 50 years ago, back in 1960, the top end speed was 24.6 mph or 39.6 kph!

Fast Forward to 1967

Here is an old clipping from TIME Magazine [registration required], March 17, 1967.

A lanky (6 ft. 3½ in., 167 Ibs.) Negro who wears sun glasses "for personality" and is so relaxed that he often catnaps for ten or 15 minutes before a race. Smith is called "Jet Gear" by rival sprinters—because of his huge stride (8 ft. 11 in.) and incredible acceleration. "Other sprinters reach their top speed at 75 yds, and then decelerate," says his coach, Lloyd ("Bud") Winter. "Tommie is still accelerating at the end of 100 or 220 yds. He can sustain a speed of 26 mph."

How to Convert 10m Splits to Km/h or Miles per Hour

Speed-ConversionsIn reviewing the splits from the Men’s 100m finals from the 2009 Berlin World Champs, it dawned on me that both Bolt & Gay both broke the 44 Kph speed limit (27.3 mph).

The old “record” of 0.82 seconds per 10 meters translates to 43.90 Km per hour.  Remember when the Holy Grail was 0.83 seconds?

The new WR achieved a 44.72 Kph top end speed or 27.8 mph!

When will they break the 30 miles per hour barrier?

How to Calculate 10m segments times to Kph or Mph

Kilometers per hour (Kph) is the inverse of the 10m split-time divided by 36.  That is,

Kph = 1 /  [split-time in seconds / 36 ]

Why a factor of 36?  because 1 Hour = 3600 seconds, and 100 decimeters = 1 kilometer

For the American audience, you convert miles per hour (mph) by a factor of 1.609.  I also added how fast a THEORETICAL 30mph, 10 meter segment would be.

It’s going to be a while before we see a 0.745 sec/10m top end speed.

Jimson Lee

Jimson Lee

Coach & Founder at
I am a Masters Athlete and Coach currently based in London UK. My other projects include the Bud Winter Foundation, writer for the IAAF New Studies in Athletics Journal (NSA) and a member of the Track & Field Writers of America.
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
  • You have to question the splits for Hary, I know they’re to the nearest tenth-of-a-second but 5m split of 1.6 is nowhere near reality, especially for a fast starter like Hary. 65-80m split of 1.3seconds looks way off

    Hary’s best FAT was 10.25 I believe? From all the splits I’ve seen over the years, I’d be inclined to think a fastest 10m split of 0.87 is more likely (11.494m/s or 25.71mph)

  • as far as i know harys fat was 10:16 , all this on cinder in spikes with nails !!!! mind boggling , can you imagine hary on a modern mondo track in new puma spikes. .. details of times in his biography ( i am luckily a fluent german reader / speaker) , note the new john carlos bioography by dave rivin , an absolute must for every human , let alone track fan !!!!!