You are surely right about this. In a typical high school there are maybe 3 - 5 track athletes who can break 5 minutes out of roughly 500 - 600 male students. Some reasonable assumptions about other athletes who could if they were on the track team (another 10?) and double or triple the total for those who could make it at age 24 (if dedicated to the pursuit) but could not at 17 or 18 years old suggest a total of something on the order of 50 individuals out of 500 - 600 total.
The percentage of american males who could at some point in their lives break 5 min for the mile if they focused on it (i.e., are genetically capable of this athletic feat) is probably somewhere around 10%.
The percentage of all Americans who could break 5 minutes TODAY is probably less than 0.01% . Of course this figure would have to be adjusted in the event that the infamous grizzly was entered in the same race.
Many on these boards truly don't have the slightest idea how fast five minute miles are to the average Joe. This is much the same as how those who are mathematically inclined find it incomprehensible that the vast majority of the populace really has no idea how to do basic algebra. etc.
|My gf has a Whooty!|
Interesting question, but not specific enough. Really there are six variables to your question, even more.
% of men today, no training, just every american hits the track. I'd say very, very, very small. I have a pr closing in to 4 flat and I still run 5 days a week and I know I couldn't break 5 today.
% of men and women today, no training, just everyone hits the track. Even smaller because very few women (50% of your population) can break 5 even when properly trained.
% of men at their prime. I would say 1.0%. This is based on my hs pupulation seeing that almost all americans were at their physical prime in hs. We had 550 boys at my HS and only 5 TOTAL could break 5 on any given day. I'd say most people who can't break 5 in hs never will after and an insignificant number of middle schoolers can break 5.
% of men and women at their prime. 0.55%. We had 1,100 students at my hs, 5 boys could break 5, one girl.
% of men if properly trained from birth. Who the hell knows. This would be a total guess. It could be anywhere from 100% all the way down to 1%. If I had to guess I'd say around 30%.
% of men and women if trained properly from birth. Once again, no one knows. If I had to guess, seeing half the population are women, I'd say 10% of women could, 30% of men, so 20% total population if trained for the mile from birth.
I went to a sports factory, all boys high school, in the 1970s, that had over 2600 students at the time.
The top one percent, of that number would be 26. That number is far too high.
We had about ten that could break 5:00. All of them were on the cross country and track teams.
Lots of soccer players, basketball players, football players, crew, sprinters and novice or j.v. distance runners could come close, but the number who could break 5:00 was a much smaller number. Perhaps 100 could break 5:30, but 5:00 was a different matter.
Thus, nationally, across age groups, considering both males and females, the number that can actually run 4:59 or faster today is much smaller than 1%. It's probably about one person in a thousand.
Have the talent to? Hard to say, my wild guess is maybe 25-50% of men and 1% of women.
Actually can? Incredibly low. From a statistical perspective, you can pretty much eliminate all women, all men under 13, and all men over 50 (the number of people in these categories who actually can run sub-5 is trivial), and the large portion of people in the world you do not have shelter, clothing, and enough to eat. So, we're basically dealing with lucky men age 14-49. This alone gets you down to about 15% of the world population. Within this 15%, I would say that of the younger half (14-30) my guess is that about 0.25% you can do it and that, in the older half (30s and 40s), about 0.05% can do it. So, my totally uneducated guess is that about 0.02% of the world population (or very roughly one million people) can currently run a sub-5 mile.
Here is one you just missed this year:
If we are talking about everyone hits the track now, including women (lets be reasonable and limit this to people between 15 and 40) I think less than 2% could break 6:00, forget about 5:00. The majority of generally fit/athletic people who don't run can't break 6 on a first try, so most Americans don't stand a chance. Those who ran competitively back in the day with mile PRs well under 5 often can't break 6 if they gave up running for several years.
I have never broken 5 myself, 5:05 is my best, and I run several times a week with speed/interval stuff at least twice a week, for the last 3 years. Before that I had a 3 year break from running, and prior to that I ran track and XC in high school for 4 years, with a mile PR of 5:09.
I'd say that over 50% of guys have the ability from birth to run under 5 minutes for the mile. I say this because my first 5k as a Freshman was 21:40 (and it wasn't even a full 5k, it was 3mi). As a junior in this past track season, I ran 4:57. I was never a natural athlete. I was always okay if not just below average. Running is a great sport because it allows average high school athletes to contribute to their team given that they work hard. I work hard.
Now the 4:57 was just junior year too. I plan on running 4:40 or so next year, and continuing with my running in college in running club or whatever. I hope to run 4:20s someday. Now I'm just an average athlete from birth, and I ran a 4:57 and will probably run even faster in the future. I'm gonna say there is a lot of untapped talent out there with the ability to run under 5 minutes given a few years of training and pushing themselves.
Less than 0.01% of the population have the genes to make it to the Olympics with any amount of training.
I would roughly estimate that about 25% of the young male population can run a mile in under 5 minutes with six months of hard training.
I agree. 80% of males? That's a ridiculously high number. As mentioned earlier, most children under the age of 10-12 will not be able to run under 5:00 for a mile. There are exceptions and some countries may have higher percentages at those young ages than others. Aside from the extreme youth, the extremely elderly will not be able to do it. So as mentioned, your range is limited from about ages 10-50, with exceptions here and there.
Then gender comes into play. A female breaking 5:00 in the mile is far more substantial than a male breaking 5:00 in the mile. Women equate to approximately 49.76% of the global population. Though based on my opinion and not facts, I'd say at least about 5% of them can/have/could've run under 5:00.
Then there is the rising problem of obesity. Here's a quote from a survey taken in 2010. Gives an idea of how dire the weight situation in America is.
"According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 34% of adults aged 20 and older are obese, and 34% are overweight. Among children, 18% of teens aged 12 to 19 are obese, 20% of children aged 6 to 11 are obese, as are 10% of kids aged 2 to 5."
"Thirty percent of those in the "overweight" class believed they were actually normal size, while 70% of those classified as obese felt they were simply overweight. Among the heaviest group, the morbidly obese, almost 60% pegged themselves as obese, while another 39% considered themselves merely overweight."
(Quoted from http://www.usatoday.com/yourlife/fitness/2010-09-09-fat-perception_N.htm)
I therefore, find it highly unlikely that 80% of males can run a sub-5 mile.
Not using any sort of calculation or math, just my opinion created from what knowledge I have, I'd estimate about 2-3% of the world's population can run sub-5. I also estimate another 1-2% have run it within the last 5 years or will do so within the next 5 years. (Let me reiterate... that last paragraph was entirely my opinion and not by any means factual. Just my personal estimates.)
I am a 16 year old, high school male. I participate in XC, Track and Swimming competatively. I used to play soccer and wrestle. I am not overweight in any way whatsoever, and I only broke 5 minutes in the mile this past year. Speaking as a sub-5 miler, I must say it isn't easy. I don't think a large percentage of the world could step onto a track right now and throw down a sub-5 mile. That is all.
I am always amazed by the number of people saying 1% or less. Mile races are a little less common, but just pulling up a random local road race 5k there are 15 out of 348 people coming in under 17:25 which is equivalent to 5 min mile. So in just this race alone that's 4%. Now this race also happens to be at 6,500 ft; which could count for something as well.
This is a local road race. While it does admittedly look a fitter segment of the population then average, it gives a poor evaluation of why could POTENTIALLY run sub 5. I would imagine that well over 50% of people in a race trail next to nothing, or very sporadically and another 25% might be running some token mileage like 20 mpw or something. I'd be surprised if more than 25% is running 40+ mpw or doing any actual serious running training (intervals, tempos, etc). Now you also have to consider that many people in a race like this are off less than ideal age to run their best.
If 4% of people are putting in an equivalent performance to sub 5, when at best 25% of them are doing even remotely solid training; and many are older or younger than peak years,I think its reasonable to figure a MUCH larger portion of people could run sub 5 if they started training during late MS or early HS years, and did serious mileage and training for several years.
Also looking anecdotally most of the people I knew that ran track in HS ended up breaking 5, or being very close, if they took it seriously, with decent overall volume and good summer training. There were certainly many more people who were serious about running breaking 5 than people who were serious about running and not getting close. It's pretty rare to see a HS kid running a smart 40-60 miles throughout his career and not be with in sniffing distance of sub 5 by the end of it.
Does the OP really mean of the total population or of males? Also, I do not think he means hypothetically with proper training at birth. At this moment how many could run sub 5 given 48 hours I would say like .25% that is still 765,000 people. Off the top of my head I think there are less than 1,000 girls that can run sub 5, probably closer to 500. So this is almost all men. Anyone who says the number is 1% or more must remember that is over 3 million people.
The answer to this definitely depends on the methodology.
For example: one method would be to round up 100 random males from off the street, dress them in running gear and have them run a mile race. I'm guessing far fewer that 1% would be able to do it.
Second example: take young males 16-22 years old, give them three months to train w/ competent coaching and I think you'd see over 40% be able to run sub 5.
When young, I was a big sprinter who trained w/ the cross country team in the fall. (49.2 & 1:58.3i) I never ran a mile/1500m in competition, but split under 5 minutes for the first mile of an 8k XC race. (Big mistake. Hurts just to remember, finished in 29:30.)
So on the one hand, I think that if I could do it at 195 pounds and 25 miles a week, maybe most people could. On the other hand, now I'm pushing 40 years old. A year ago I weighed over 300 pounds. I've dropped 70 pounds and have been running steady miles since August. This week I've put in 40 miles. Even with all of that steady work, I doubt I could run under 5 minute miles if I were being chased by a bear. Now, give me another six months and we'll see, but if we're talking about rounding up adult males off the street, I doubt we'd see 1 in 500 which is 0.2%
Not counting the runners in the Championship Races at the Twin Cities Mile, held in May this year, a total of 75 out of 1087 male runners, and 0 out of 1067 female runners, finished the mile in under 5:00. The average time for males and females, combined, was 7:57.
Fourteen out of the fifteen finishers in the Women's Championship Race finished in under 5:00; all thirteen male Championship Race finishers were, of course, under 5:00.
Here are the results:
I'm pretty sure that most of the entrants think they are runners, although only a handful think of themselves as being elite or near elite.
So, in this race, 103 out of 2182 finishers (or 4.7%) were under 5:00; just under 7% of the males not in the Championship Race were under 5:00; and just under 3.5% of all non-Championship Races entrants were under 5:00.
If this is a more or less representative sample of runners (who knows, maybe a sample of California or Oregon runners is faster than this sample of mostly Minnesota runners), the fact that 4.7% of the runners finished under 5:00 suggests that the percentage of the American population that can run a mile under 5:00 is very low.
If almost no "non-runners" can run under 5:00, and if 10% of the population are runners (that seems high to me), then it looks like maybe 0.5% of the American population can run under 5:00. If you exclude young children, the elderly, and those with physical disabilities, the under 5:00 percentage would, of course, be higher.
I don't think anyone is disputing that WAY below 1% of the population can CURRENTLY run a mile in <5:00. This is obvious because even a very small portion of runners actually runs under 5.
This again suggests at least 5% of the people that try to really improve at running can get under 5, but again I imagine the percentage actually training seriously is probably at most 25%.
Again I wouldn't be at all surprised if at least 25% of the male population could break 5 at some point in their 20's if they started training properly in late MS or early HS, especially if they were involved athletically before that.