Sarah, a 11 year old female cheetah living at the Cincinnati Zoo in the US, is now the proud owner of the new world land speed record for mammals; the sleek big cat recorded a 100m dash in an incredible 5.95s and at a top speed of 61mph on 20 June.

Even more incredibly, the record she beat was her own. Sarah's first record was in 2009 and that time was 6.13s, beating the time of 6.19s set by a male cheetah called Nyana, in South Africa in 2001.

Incidentally, just so we realise just how fast Sarah is, she completely hammered the 100m record held by the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt of Jamaica. Bolt, who will compete in the event at the London 2012 Olympics, has a fastest time of 9.58s... almost pedestrian compared to Sarah.

"At the Cincinnati Zoo it is our goal to inspire every visitor with wildlife every day, and nothing inspires awe like seeing a cheetah running full blast in our Cheetah Encounter. We are very proud of Sarah, our World Record Holder, since she is a terrific ambassador for her cheetah cousins in the wild," Thane Maynard, executive director of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, said in a statement.

Sarah's record was run on a specially designed course certified by the Road Running Technical Council of USA Track & Field and her motivation - to chase down a fluffy dog toy!

The record-breaking run (made possible by the unqiue anatomy of the animal, which allows the bending of the spine and the front legs to stretch as wide as 20ft to 22ft in one stride) has been captured on both still and video cameras.

"Cheetahs are off the ground more than half of their running time. Their claws are hard and sharp like cleats, giving them great traction when they run," zoo authorities explained.

Check out the videos and a few photographs showing Sarah, the fastest land mammal in the world, setting her new record

Sarah, an 11-year-old cheetah at the Cincinnati Zoo, breaks her own world record by running 100m in 5.95 seconds in this National Geographic magazine picture taken at the zoo's Regional Cheetah Breeding Facility (Mast Farm) in Clermont County, Ohio June 20, 2012. (Photo: REUTERS/© Ken Geiger/National Geographic Magazine/Handout)REUTERS/© Ken Geiger
Sarah was clocked at 61mph (101kph) and broke her previous record of 6.13 seconds which she set in 2009. (Photo: REUTERS/© Ken Geiger/National Geographic Magazine/Handout)REUTERS/© Ken Geiger
Sarah ran four seconds faster than Usain Bolt of Jamaica, fastest time for 100 meters distance is 9.58 seconds. (Photo: REUTERS/© Ken Geiger/National Geographic Magazine/Handout)REUTERS/© Ken Geiger