Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter who competed in the 2012 London Olympics, is widely known as the fastest man ever. Bolt is the first man in history to hold both the world records for the 100 meter and 200 meter sprint. Running 100 meters in 9.58 seconds and 200 meters in 19.19 seconds required that he be able to produce and effectively use ample energy to support the strain he puts on all of the systems of his body.
Energy is derived from the food we put into our bodies and the oxygen we breathe. The food is chemically changed and metabolized at the cellular level (aerobically—with oxygen, anaerobically—without), which means it goes through processes that eventually convert it to ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is the source of energy that gives Bolt and other athletes the ability to do amazing things.
Learn the basics of how chemistry fuels running or read the more technical details.
Articles by Josh Sewell.