Chris Johnson, Devin Hester to race a cheetah for Nat Geo Wild’s ‘Big Cat Week’

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports/NationalGeographic.com

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports/NationalGeographic.com

Two of the planet’s fastest human beings, Chris Johnson and Devin Hester, are going to be putting their world-class speed to the test against the planet’s fastest animal, a cheetah.

You read that correctly. To kick off the festivities with Nat Geo Wild’s Big Cat Week in November, Johnson and Hester will put their speed to the test in “Man vs. Cheetah.”

The Wrap caught up with Johnson and Hester, who are both excited for this whole new level of challenges.

“This is most incredible challenge I’ve ever faced,” said Johnson, running back for the Tennessee Titans. “I wanted to go up against the fastest in the world and test myself, and this was it!”

“The whole idea of racing next to a cheetah for Nat Geo Wild was a very unusual proposition,” said Hester of the Chicago Bears. “But it was something I was ready to take on to see if I could get an edge on.”

While your first instinct is to brush this off as the impossible, Nat Geo is looking at far more than the end result of the race. Big cats on Planet Earth face an uphill battle as humans modernize the world. Any and all information gathered is a step in the right direction to preserving these majestic animals.

“Man vs. Cheetah” will not only look at how the cheetah’s speed, maneuverability and instinct all come together, but it will reveal the key advantages and the vulnerabilities of the contestants. The special addresses whether cheetahs have hidden weaknesses despite their all-out running power, and whether comparing them to humans might reveal new information about cheetahs’ potential for survival in the wild. The margin between cheetah speed and human ability is shown to be razor-thin, with factors like agility, endurance and the human ability to strategize and adapt leveling the playing field.