Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli’s orc-hunt run

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Erling 17/Dec/2006 at 09:23 PM
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After Boromir’s death, these three take off after the band of orcs that have taken Merry and Pippin captive. Their journey takes them from Rauros, near the Emyn Muil, all the way to the edge of Fangorn, which leads them across the Eastenment and the Wold of Rohan, if I’m not mistaken. And once again, if I’m not mistaken, that’s a journey of around 150 miles. They were running non-stop, save the two rests they took. An elf can probably make this journey, though I’m not sure about dwarves. So here’s my question. In reality, can a man physically make a trek like this, running non-stop in order to close the distance between them and the fleeing orcs, in the timespan that they did it in? (I can’t remember exactly how many days it took them. Was it around 4?)
Qtpie 17/Dec/2006 at 10:06 PM
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The Dwarves were quite hardy and could make this kind of journey as well, I believe.

’Dwarves too can go swiftly, and they do not tire sooner than Orcs.’ The Two Towers: The Departure of Boromir

And yes the companion of three travelled for four days.

’Fouty leagues and five you have mesured ere the fourth day is ended!’ The Two Towers: The Riders of Rohan

If their journey was around 150 miles, and the days it took them were 4 days, then they would average like 40 miles a day. My guess would be no, that a man can’t physically make a trek like the one Aragorn and his companions made. Even Eomer was surprised at their speed on foot.
KingODuckingham 17/Dec/2006 at 10:23 PM
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Check Unfinished Tales, the chapter about the Disaster at Gladden Fields for Tolkien’s estimate on how far Gondorian/Numenorian soldiers (similar to Aragorn) could travel per day with heavy packs (which Aragorn and co. were not burdened with). Perhaps that might put it in perspective. Unfortunately I am separated from my UT or I would quote it myself.

Even if this still seems wild, remember, that is the point. Eomer finds it amazing, even legendary. What gets me is that orcs are able to do it, and nobody comments on how amazing that feat is (Except for the brief comment about Saruman’s will lending them speed). Nobody names them "Wing-Feet".
Kaos the Gold 18/Dec/2006 at 03:49 AM
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And anyway, things like these happen in lord of the rings.  Theoden’s horn shattered when he blew it at Pelennor, and when Aragorn, Leggy, Gimli, the rangers and Elrond’s sons had to ride down from the black stone at erech to the mouth of anduin (roundabouts) it said that any other man would have been killed by the effort, but aragorn’s wilol pushed thgem forward.  It seems that his will sped them forward to save middle-earth, his will must have sped them along the shorter journey to save two underage innocent munchkins.
geordie 18/Dec/2006 at 09:40 AM
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Aragorn is not a ’standard’ human being; as has been noted, he’s a Numenorean. They were bigger and hardier than other men. Later, describing another great journey - that of Aragorn and the Dunedain [+ Legolas and Gimli] through the Paths of the Dead, and then through Gondor to the coast - Tolkien specifically says that no others could have done it; only the Dunedain, and an elf and a dwarf.

BTW - the distance is 135 miles, not 150. Bit picky, but these things are important - or would be, if it were you running the distance!
Istanira 18/Dec/2006 at 09:43 AM
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They had lembas, I would guess--which keeps you on your feet and puts ’heart’ in you. Sam and Frodo would not have taken the whole supply and left their friends without any. If Merry and Pippin had some in their pockets, the Three Hunters would have had some too.
Angdring 18/Dec/2006 at 10:26 AM
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Then on the other hand , we , in modern earth , have folks who participate in  ultra marathons.  They start out in Death Valley , where temps go to 130 F .  They run from the start aaccross at least some of the valley and,up to about halfway up Mount Whitney.  They cover 135 mi , in about 30 hr.  That comes to a little less than  4 mi , an hour , or for all you runners, about a 13 min. mile. ( a jog , shuffle )    Really a modern person in reasonally good shape , can walk at a 15 min per mile pace.   Of course the marathoners don’t have to carry weapons, and track down a dangerous quarry .  And our folks in Middle Earth didn’t have anyone bringing them burgers, and shakes along the way.  FWIW  Back in the 80s I was a runner, and in fairly  good shape and I wouldn’t have taken either of these races on.

Anuminas 20 18/Dec/2006 at 11:51 AM
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No, in reality a normal man could not make the journey.  However, Aragorn is not, by any standards, a normal man.  He is a ranger from the north, one of the Dunedain, with the blood of the Numenor.  Naturally, with such a background, the trek becomes easier.  And we are not talking about people who sit around and watch TV, either.  Aragorn certainly has had good exercise, and is in perfect shape.  Due to his blood and his fit body, though it is still quite a feat, it is not very near impossible for one such as Aragorn to make. 
Erling 18/Dec/2006 at 01:07 PM
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Thanks for the answers, everyone. I certainly won’t try this now that I’ve gotten some feedback.
Legolas the elf 19/Dec/2006 at 10:54 AM
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my question is how did gimli make the trip?he was the heaviest of the group. and  besides after running and running and then running some more he would get very tired , and also his legs are short so his strides  arent  as long as aragorn’s and certainly not legolas’s,so in theory it would take him longer to make the journey than a ranger of the dunedain, or an elf.
Battlehamster 19/Dec/2006 at 04:41 PM
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I suppose that dwarves are very hardy and have a lot of endurance.  It’s like the tortoise and the hare.  And look at mustangs: they tend to be fairly stocky and they have plenty of endurance.  Though Gimli’s probably more of a Shetland Pony.  Probably what it boils down to is it wouldn’t work very well in the story if he couldn’t.


Wilibald Bumble 19/Dec/2006 at 06:09 PM
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Check out the Unfinished Tales, it has some information about the Numenoreans and how they could travel as swiftly as the Elves. Meanwhile Dwarves too are a hardy folk as it is said:’Dwarves too can go swiftly, and they do not tire sooner than Orcs.’ The Two Towers: The Departure of Boromir

And they had lembas made by the Elves which "restored their energy and renewed their hope". Even though Gimli was grumbling at the end of the journey he could still make it. Furthermore not all Men can do it. Aragon is of Westernesse and the Valar granted them gifts of longer life and more hardy and strength than that of lesser men. Remember, Eomer finds it amazing and says that Many songs will be made about this.

So, it is possible for Aragon and Gimli and Legolas as Aragon has Numenor blood in his veins and Gimli is a sturdy dwarf and "does not tire sooner than Orcs" and Legolas is of course a Wood Elf and it is not that bad for him.

Angdring 20/Dec/2006 at 06:51 AM
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Frankincence , Your  original question was ’" in reality , can a man physically make a trek like this , running nonstop " ect. ?    The answer is , Yes ,  135 miles , in 30 hours.
Carandol Eredion 20/Dec/2006 at 08:28 AM
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Some concrete figures are given in UT, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields:

’The soldiers of the Dúnedain, tall men of great strength and endurance, were accustomed to move fully armed at eight leagues a day ’with ease’: when they went in eight spells of a league, with short breaks at the end of each league, and one hour near midday. This made a march of about ten and a half hours, of which they were walking eight hours. This pace they could maintain for long periods with adequate provision. In haste they could move much faster, at twelve leagues a day (or in great need more), but for shorter periods.’

At twelve leagues a day they could have done forty-eight leagues in four days, but allowing for the fact that they did not have the whole of the fourth day before meeting Eomer, that probably puts their speed at just over twelve leagues a day. Unfortunately ’shorter periods’ has no exact definition, but my impression is that while the run was a noteable (but eminently possible) feat for Aragorn, it seemed (due to the greater physical stature of the Dúnedain) an achievement of a much greater magnitude to Eomer.