During the athletics world championship, a commentator mentioned casually during the marathon discipline that humans are faster over long distances than all animals. I'm unsure if this can be said generally. Obviously some individuals cannot run, so consider the speed of the fastest individuals of each species.
Were there any scientific experiments performed to compare humans and animal? Alternatively, are there medical/biomechanical reasons upon which one can base this statement?
Additional research turned up the following Nature abstract:
Here we assess how well humans perform at sustained long-distance running, and review the physiological and anatomical bases of endurance running capabilities in humans and other mammals. Judged by several criteria, humans perform remarkably well at endurance running, thanks to a diverse array of features, many of which leave traces in the skeleton. The fossil evidence of these features suggests that endurance running is a derived capability of the genus Homo, originating about 2 million years ago, and may have been instrumental in the evolution of the human body form.
The main factor seems to be temperature, which complicates an objective comparison of specific mammals. Standard ambient temperature is from my knowledge around 25° C. It seems this a temperature where it gets tricky for horses and especially sled dogs to keep up with our best marathon runners. On even longer distances, likely even more. Probably a doubled marathon distance will already change the whole mammal endurance ranking. It would be interesting to see how desert/steppe animals like camel/antelope/cheetah do compared to dog/horse/human.