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How tiring would it be to run while wearing full armor?
Would a difference between trained, fit soldier and a untrained man be significant?
This is a difficult question to answer, as you've to take some different aspects of the answer into account.

First, what do you mean by full armour? You mean a first century infantry soldier (so, someone wearing a lorica hamata, squamata or segmentata) with helmet on and big shield in his left hand? If so, from experience I would say that's possible to do for both trained as untrained (but fit) people.

But you have also to take into account what distance you mean and in what kind of circumstances (flat surface of grassland, sand or within a wood?) as this all will influence how fast you will be get tired. Running some distance in armour is good to do, but you get tired eventually. But your amour will not restrict your movement as much that you aren't possible to run. Training will of course increase the amount of time you can run before getting tired, so I would diffentatelly say there is a difference between an trained soldier and a normal civil person. We know the Roman legionaries would undergo a fast amount of training during his time of service.
I'm sorry, I should have been more clear in my post. What I was thinking is this: a legionary on a flat field, wearing a hamata/segmentata, helmet, shield and sword, which in total should be around 25-30kg. If he splints at full speed, how long(both in time and distance) would he last before he can no longer continue to run? Then, if we do the same thing with a modern, average 20 years-old how different would the result be?
Hmmmm, your average 20 years old these days? After spending the last ten years at his nintendo, probably about a 75 percent difference...... :| And thats being generous.
Your estimated weight is almost double what it should be. Segmentata about 6 or 7 kg (12 to 15 pounds), shield the same, helmet under 2 kg (about 3 pounds), 2 or 3 kg for weapons. Max about 19 kg, and probably less than that.

Here are a couple amusing photos, from the Armor Race we have at Roman Days each year.

The average age is about 40, the average military training is "desk jockey". Note that in both cases the man in the lead is wearing lorica hamata (heavier than segmentata!), and is neither an athelete nor military.

Good armor simply isn't that bad for a trained man. In fact, I'd guess that the shield would be more of an encumberance when running. Mind you, I don't think there was much flat-out sprinting done on the battlefield, like we were doing in those races.

That said, I honestly don't know how long a trained Roman OR a modern person could run in armor! My general assumption is that they could do most anything they needed to do better than a reenactor could, but there is simply no way to get hard data. Most references from ancient literature are either too vague, or (like the Greek charge at Marathon) simply dismissed as impossible. (Hey, that's historical method for ya, start by throwing out the evidence, ha!)


OK, I will add this. Having just returned from Iraq and having to put on all the required protective gear needed in todays battle field I have to say that for one nobodies SPRINTING anywhere! As a soldier we are rquired to run at a minimum 1/2 a mile in full gear. Now when I mean full gear that's helmet (5lbs), new flak vest w/ plates (45lbs), combat load of bullets (15lbs), water (5lbs) And last but not least my trusty old M16 (8lbs) and I know I'm forgeting some of the little things. So you do the math. Most of the soldiers do it but not at a sprinting pace. We train a lot to be able to do this and some just can't do it fast. So trust me when I say that if my seg was bullet proof I'd wear it instead of my new flak vest! It really matters on the person.Some can and others can't. I would have to say that 100 yards would be about it for a full on sprint with all your gear! But why would you want to do that? When you got to the point you were sprinting to you wouldn't be able to do any fighting!
Thanks for all the answers! Big Grin
It really helped me out.
Quote:... Most of the soldiers do it but not at a sprinting pace.

Hooah TexasCav

Another point to make re 20th century combatants is that running increase heart rate which increases breathing which throws off ranged weapon accuracy.
I gotta think that legionaires were far more manuerverable than most of their Middle Ages counterparts though I may be wrong. Suffice it to say, if you are sprinting to engage your opponent, it's either:
a.) a really bad day and the battle plan is shot to pieces;
b.) an ambush situation where a sprint would be covered in a short burst (even so, armor is loud and may clank around a lot tipping you off).

I agree with a lot of the posts though- the shield would hinder the natural stride of the body, which is why you read so many accounts of men fleeing and dropping their shields.

I have to admit, even the short bursts we do for our displays, the staggered line, charge-stop-charge-stop routine leaves me in a bit of a shortbreathed situation for a moment...the hardest part it the comming to a stop without discharging the weapons or having a foe to take it out on.
Another thing that might be worth mentioning on the subject. Soldiers, past or present, often have an advantage (if you can call it that) in a battle situation that no untrained civilian in a normal situation would have and that is the powerful trio of fear, adrenalin and motivation. Any or all can make a soldier do extrordinary things if required. As an ex modern soldier (British, so I have a lot of experience of moving about on my feet as we don't get too much transport, certainly not those funny whirrly-bladed things you see up in the sky) I agree with our Texas cav friend that soldiers (again Roman or modern) seldom 'sprint' anywhere on a battlefield. For modern soldiers, as well as the points he and Currahee Chris have already brought out, the longer you are up running (or sprinting) along, the more you turn yourself into a bullet magnet; for the Romans, who largely fought as part of a formation, sprinting flat out in formation would make it very difficult to maintain cohesion. As a Roman soldier, although you would have trained to be able to run in kit, normally it would have been more in the form of a short controlled charge at the enemy when required. I suspect the only time you would be sprinting was when the battleplan had all gone horibbly 'pear-shaped' and you were fleeing the battlefield with a horde of hairy barbarians snapping at your ass - and that of couse is where fear, adrenalin and motivation would come into play.
Oh how true you are!!!!!!!! Even the fattest of soldiers would out run a cheeta when the retreat is followed up by anything Hairy!!!!!!! Confusedhock: :lol: Tongue twisted:
Anyway, the only time a sprint would be of any efect is in a charge and that would only be a few meters and that just for the shock value!!!!!!!
I truely belive that the Roman army had more control on there formations than to just sprint into a full on knock down drag out fight!!!! Or at leat I hope they did!!! Confusedhock: