The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH


34 Million Calories Burned in a Single Morning

Posted in
Move more

Monday, Oct 19, 2009

The picture above is a scene of calorie burning in action. It was taken at the start of yesterday's Denver Marathon in which over 10,000 people participated.  Let's do the calorie burning numbers.

Say the average race time was 4 hours and 16 minutes, the same as last year's Denver Marathon.  That comes out to about a 9.5 minute per mile pace.  At that intensity level, the average runner burned about 13.4 calories per minute.  So each runner yesterday burned about 3,430 calories to transport their body along the 26.2 mile route. For comparison purposes, a person who slept in for the duration of the marathon would have burned only 325 calories.

Now the numbers get really amazing.  Let's assume that everyone who started the race, finished (we know they didn't but let's just assume).   Ten thousand runners times 3,430 calories burned by each is equal to 34,300,000 - yes that is millions - total calories burned!!

Another way to look at it is that it takes a calorie deficit of about 3,500 calories to lose one pound.  So the Denver runners burned enough calories yesterday morning to lose nearly 10,000 pounds of body fat.  Not bad for a morning's work, eh?  Add to these impressive numbers the millions of additional calories burned and thousands of pounds lost as these marathoners trained for this event.

In the Stand Up and Eat blog we often talk about doing small amounts of physical activity for health and calorie burning benefits.  For people who are sedentary and unfit, this is a good goal.  For people who can and want to do more physical activity, there are additional calorie burning and health benefits.  And when we can mobilize tens of thousands of people to do extraordinary levels of physical activity, the sky's the limit on calories burned.