Man versus cheetah in a running contest? Considering the spotted animal is the fastest known on land, you might go into this race thinking it’s really no contest at all.

But, you might be surprised to learn that advances in technology could someday bring man up to speeds that before would otherwise be physically impossible.

Not only that, but man’s intellect can give him an advantage in strategy over a cheetah’s instinct.

For its Big Cat Week special, National Geographic set up about 20 cameras to capture all the angles of the race between the NFL’s Chris Johnson (Tennessee Titans) and Devin Hester (Chicago Bears) against Busch Garden’s cheetahs, Jenna and Nave.

man v cheetah

Although the cheetah might have an advantage in speed, human runners have the brain power to potentially give them a strategic advantage. (Image source: National Geographic)

According to the Tampa Bay Times, National Geographic shot the races in just one take.

“We wanted to do something really different that would push our understanding of the animals and be something that was relatable,” Jenny Apostol, the executive producer of “Man v. Cheetah,” told the Times. “We had no idea what was going to happen.”

The football players sped alongside the animals on a 220-foot course with a 10-foot wall separating them.

Watch this clip from the show:

The race was only done once for each cheetah and football player to avoid stressing the cats.

“We didn’t want to exhaust them,” Apostol told the newspaper.

While a cheetah would undoubtedly win in a straight-shot race, NatGeo made the contestants turn around, giving the humans a bit more of a fair chance with agility and strategic planning, Chicago’s Red Eye reported.

Johnson told USA Today he didn’t think the contest was anything crazy until he found out before taping the crew had to build a higher wall since the cheetah had jumped over the first one.

“I thought it was something fun to do, just to test human vs. animal,” he said.

“If he was to get over, it would just make me run faster,” Johnson told National Geographic.

So who won, man or cheetah? As tweeted by NatGeoWild, it wasn’t the slow and steady in this case.

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/natgeowild/status/406579673267961856"]

“Man v. Cheetah” premiered Nov. 29, 2013, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Nat Geo WILD.

(H/T: Daily Mail)

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