Sports Facts

How Long Would It Take To Swim To New York – And How Long To Travel To Different Destinations On Foot?


Image via Flickr creative commons from aa7ae

Humans are renowned for their qualities of endurance, and their desire to push themselves to new levels of physical achievement.

But there are certain limits beyond which the human body cannot be pushed, due largely to the laws of physics. That, though, hasn’t stopped many scientists from hypothesising about the boundaries which they believe the human body can be pushed to.

And in endurance sports such as the triathlon, there remains a great deal of debate over whether the ability to swim, run or cycle quickly over a short burst can give someone a real advantage in competition over a rival who can maintain a consistent pace over the entire course.

Naturally, of the three, cycling is the fastest way of moving, as a competitor is taking advantage of physical assistance in order to make progress as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, running is the most natural form of movement, but this is subject to a great deal of variables which are dictated by nature, such as the speed of the following or headwinds. Swimming, though, is the most physically demanding form of travel under one person’s own means, because of the resistance which the human body faces from the water itself.

However, the question of the amount of time taken to swim across the almost 4,000 miles of water which separate the westernmost extremes of the UK and Europe from the east coast of the United States is one which has exercised many mathematicians. Yet because of the huge amount of variables which are likely to be encountered, it is almost impossible to come up with an answer which would reflect the ‘real world’ conditions which anyone would be likely to encounter.

Google Maps is a key element in working out the figures, as this can offer ways of getting from one point to another by a variety of means. These include walking, cycling, flying and driving, as well as a combination of two or more of these.

As it happens, the answer could be anywhere between 29 and 31 days, but as imprecise as these figures are, the means by which they are arrived at represent a useful tool for international delivery companies which, although they would use much faster means of transport, still need to give their customers some idea of how long it will take for their goods to be sent from one location to another, even when the two are several thousand miles apart.

This ability to calculate transit times between almost any pair of locations on the planet by different modes of transport may be quite vague – but no matter how far away you live providers of courier services make a great deal of use of such calculations which arrive through these means, because they have to give users of international delivery services some realistic expectation of the timescale involved in making their delivery.

This is a good example of the kind of service in which it is necessary to manage expectations. Simply because many people have no concept of the distances involved in long-distance transport, they need to have a realistic idea of how long it will take to get their deliveries to a point anywhere around the world. Of course, as pointed out by there will always be new frontiers of travel beyond the regular travels, one day soon man may got to Mars, but it’s unlikely that he will walk there!

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