5 Jul

Which Non-Runners Run The Most?

Head shot of Roger Federer in tennis action

The sporting summer is now well and truly upon us. The women’s football World Cup, the Cricket World Cup and now Wimbledon.

Carli, Kohli and Konta - just some of the names that will be tripping off the sporting tongues this season. It is the skills that will grab most of our attention and imagination, but also the incredible athleticism.

And as a runner, it got me wondering specifically about the running credentials within each sport. Firstly, how much distance do elite sportspeople cover in their respective sports?

Running is a key component in all physically active sports, but I was surprised to see which sport outside of running itself, saw the players clocking up the most miles.

Given the almost constant movement of football, rugby and tennis, I imagined them to be sports that logged the most miles. With football having the bigger playing surface and players required to cover a larger distance, it comes out top of those particular three.

An average professional footballer covers around 7 miles per game. Whereas in rugby, it averages closer to four miles and a surprisingly low three miles per the average match in tennis. Although, men’s players can cover up to 15 miles throughout a tournament.

Hockey and basketball come in at around 5 miles and 2.5 miles respectively. Just for fun, I also worked out that a darts player could walk around 900m in a five set match - perhaps getting over a kilometre with a long walk in!

But it is cricket that rises above all others in terms of pure mileage. It might seem a little more sedate than its sweatier sporting cousins, yet bowlers cover the equivalent of a half marathon in a day.

And when you consider England’s Jimmy Anderson has played around 350 international matches, bowling an estimated 380 full days, it tots up to a staggering career mileage. Of course, there’s lies, damn lies and statistics, but it still gets the mind whirring.

Would we ever be afforded the unlikely spectacle of Anderson facing off against Roger Federer, Christiano Ronaldo, Johnny Sexton and other elite sportspeople in a half marathon, I’d have to favour the fast bowler. However, I would still back Phil Taylor for the best walk on to the startline!