Fastest race in history? Usain Bolt broke 150m world best with historic run in 2009


Usain Bolt is the fastest human being on record.

The Jamaican phenomenon holds the men’s world record in both the 100 and 200-metre sprints and anchored the greatest 4×100-metre relay team to ever cover a lap of an athletics track.

And with the latest generation of world-class sprinters inheriting Bolt’s titles at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, it’s only natural that the legacy of the 34-year-old is on people’s minds right now.

Bolt’s enduring legacy

We’re all familiar with Bolt’s historic feats in Beijing, Berlin and London, but there are even more iconic moments from the sprinting icon that deserve their moments in the sun.

And that’s an ironic way to put things, really, because arguably the most underrated achievement in Bolt’s catalogue of accomplishments actually came in the rainy, overcast streets of Manchester.

That’s because Bolt posted what is considered by some to be the fastest race in history, which is remarkable when you consider that it’s seldom mentioned in his catalogue of achievements.


Setting the 150m world best

However, let’s change that by casting our minds back to 2009, which saw Bolt at the peak of his powers and on the verge of posting his 100m and 200m world records later that year in Berlin.

Bolt was competing at the now-defunct Great City Games in Manchester where unique athletics tracks were built in the middle of the street to give fans a truly unique viewing perspective.

And Bolt was competing over the seldom-contested distance of 150 metres, which many considered to be something of a Goldilocks zone between the Jamaican’s two traditional race distances.

The result? Well, Bolt just happened to post the greatest 150m time that had ever been recorded, blowing away his fellow finalists to cross the line in a barely-believable time of 14.35 seconds.


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‘The fastest race in history’

According to Athletics Weekly, that statistically made Bolt’s triumph ‘the fastest race in history’ when measured in miles or kilometres per hour from start to finish.

Bolt’s time of 14.35 equated to an average speed of 23.38mph whereas his 100m and 200m world records ‘only’ correlate to 23.35mph and 23.31mph respectively. 

And just to make things even better, the race was recorded by a camera that moved in tandem with Bolt and duly gave a unique perspective on just how quick the fastest sprinter of all time really is.

So, strap yourselves in and cling on for dear life by checking out the astonishing footage of Bolt tearing up the streets of Manchester down below:

Come on, Usain, you know you fancy making a return. Pretty please.

Astonishing ‘flying 100m’ split

Ok, jokes aside, it really does go to show just how unstoppable Bolt was in his prime that he could casually drop what was arguably the fastest race in history under such unique circumstances.

And just in case we haven’t rammed home how impressive Bolt’s performance was already, then let us kindly refer you to his frankly unbelievable split times on his way to posting 14.35 seconds.


Bolt’s opening 100m split of 9.91 seconds is pretty decent, but it’s the fact that his ‘flying 100m’ between 50 metres and 150 metres clocked in at 8.70 seconds that is truly earth-shattering.

Oh, and did we mention that he’d only just recovered from a car crash and that the previous world best in the 150m was miles behind at 14.8 seconds? Talk about a superhuman.

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