Steve Sailer: The Darwinian Advantages of Sprinting vs. Endurance Running: Marcus Vick Edition

Steve Sailer writes: Speaking of Darwinian selection pressures in sprinting vs. distance running abilities, commenter “mourning in america” sends along cop body camera footage of a very serious footrace between Marcus Vick, former Virginia Tech quarterback and the younger brother of NFL star Michael Vick, and some policemen who can’t match his time in the 40. Marcus was never as fast as Michael, but his 4.47 second time in the 40 yard dash is a lot faster than the average policeman’s.

Like I was saying, sprinting ability is most useful with moderately complex ground cover into which the superior sprinter can effectively disappear. In more open terrain, the better distance runner is likely to be able to track down the tired sprinter.


* In what kind of environment would this strategy work?

So you run off into the trees…..and then what? Live in the jungle for the rest of your life? Hope that the people in the village or whatever forget about you?

It’s hard to see how the be-a-jackass-and-then-sprint-away strategy would work. The villagers would be on the lookout for the jackass, and would probably kill him the next time he showed up.

* In general, particularly in 21st century, it would be insane to run from the cops. In his case, though, since we’re talking about running, if they didn’t already know who he was, and were it not for the cameras, helicopters, etc. there is a decent chance he could’ve gotten away. Even though he had stopped and sat down, he was clearly less winded for his run than the cops, so I don’t buy into the ideas that the cops could’ve outdistanced him, particularly if he shook the trail. People here are also thinking about 1 run and done sprinters when they should be thinking about a Michael Vick type QB who has to sprint, dodge, jump, and sprint some more, again and again over the course of a few hours. Just because he’s good at sprinting, doesn’t mean he’s below “normals” at distance running. He likely excels there, too, but not as much so as he does at sprinting. Most people, probably most cops included, are gonna tire out more from a half mile or mile run than he would.

As you said earlier, a few twists and turns could be all it would take to slip away. In terms of simply looking for a black guy matching his description, probably quite a few black guys his age around town match to a first approximation for most people, and if he had any sense at all, he’d switch up his appearance at the first opportunity after a stunt like that.

* I think a lot of football and basketball players start to develop a bit of a God Complex in middle and high school, especially if they were as good as these two at their sport. For blacks its probably a double whammy as many whites are bending over backwards looking for a reason to shower praise on them.

Universities will really roll out the red carpet for talented football players, overlook all sorts of infractions, hot girls will cling to them constantly, etc. Its probably easy for them to start to feel like they can do whatever they want whenever they want, and get into all kinds of trouble.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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