Ever gone to kill a spider (or humanely cup it to bring outside or whatever hippies do), and it zips away at insanely fast speed? It seems definitely way faster than a human, right?
What if you took the fastest spider's top speed running away from a rolled up newspaper, and measured it against a human's running speed. I'm not talking Usain Bolt top speed, just like, you or me. Can a spider outrun us?
The fastest spider is the giant house spider [warning: link goes to a photo of a gross spider], which can reach speeds of 1.73 feet per second. That's only about 1 mile per hour. We humans can easily run faster than that.
I asked spider expert J. Chad Johnson, associate professor of behavioral ecology at Arizona State University West, if a spider could beat a human in a foot race. He raised an entirely new and frightening prospect:
Spider running speed is a bit silly. I see no way to construe it to match a human's running speed. Spiders disperse more readily by air (ballooning) than by land. As such, they are documented traveling hundreds of miles, and while I know of no data documenting the speed of ballooning, it is entirely dependent on air currents, which perhaps can be shown to be faster than us little ol' humans.