Hurdle Race


The hurdle race is basically a sport in athletics including track and field in which an athlete runs on a number of obstacles that are set at a fixed distance. They are also known within the sports world as obstacle courses and involve the use of speed to achieve the goal, which in this case is the goal.


What is hurdles racing?

Hurdles races are races that involve the athlete’s speed and are made along a track which has a certain amount of obstacles in its path known as hurdles which must be overcome by athletes.


What is the hurdles race?

The hurdles race consists of a speed competition that takes place along a race track . In this race track, the athletes encounter a series of obstacles known as hurdles , which must be jumped by the athletes in order to continue with the race, avoiding as much as possible bouncing or touching them. The first athlete who manages to jump all these obstacles and reaches the finish line will be declared the winner of the competition.



The main characteristics that we can observe in hurdle racing are the following:

  • They are races that involve great speed.
  • On the track there are obstacles or fences.
  • The distance of the track can vary depending on the race, gender and the age of the athletes.
  • Athletes may not go out of their lane during the race.


Its history begins at the University of Oxford when in 1850 they organized a race where they had to overcome 10 hurdles . In 1888, France adjusted the distance of the hurdles race to 110 meters, setting the characteristics of the event. The 110m test. Men’s hurdles has been practiced in the Olympic Games since its first edition held in Athens in 1896. The 100 m. hurdles for women, is part of the Olympic games since Munich , 1972. The 400 m event. Hurdles in the women’s branch managed to enter the Olympic program in Los Angeles in 1984.


The technique for the hurdles race is divided into three components, the start , the speed and pace race and the passage of the fence, and each of them has its own phases.

Hurdles race phases

  • Impulse phase : the hands leave the ground initiating the stroke . The legs press the studs, the trunk straightens and rises, the push of the rear leg is strong.
  • Acceleration phase : the athlete places the front foot on the ball of the foot, completing the first step and then increasing . The calf is kept parallel to the ground, the athlete takes 8 steps, for the 100 m and 110 m hurdles.
  • The step between hurdles : the rhythm and the length of the stride are important, and they obey to the muscular coordination . The stride shows two phases, support and flight.
  • Impulse : the joints of the hip, knee and ankle of the supporting leg are extended during takeoff.
  • Passage : aims to reduce the loss of speed and time in the air.
  • Fall : this phase aims to make a quick transition from the hurdle passage to the run , the landing leg is fully extended and rigid and falls on the ball of the foot. Fast and active forward traction is applied.


One of the main aspects of training is the athlete learning to go over the hurdles using both legs to make the number of strides easier . It is considered that the best way to train is to start with a period of initiation, one of improvement and a last of specialization.


110 and 400 meters are recognized as standard distances for men, and 100 and 400 meters for women.

The races are made in individual lanes and the participants must remain in their lane from start to finish.

When a competitor drags his foot or leg below the horizontal plane of the top of a fence when passing it, or if he deliberately knocks down any fence with his hand or foot, he will be disqualified.


The categories that dispute the hurdles race are the following:

Male category

  • 60 meter hurdles – 1,468 meters (indoor track)
  • 110 meter hurdles – 1,367 meters
  • 400 meters hurdles – 0.914 meters
  • 3000 meters with obstacles

Female category

  • 60 meter hurdles – 0.838 meters (indoor track)
  • 100 meter hurdles – 0.838 meters
  • 400 meters hurdles – 0.762 meters
  • 3000 meters with obstacles

Hurdle racing competitions

The hurdles races are generally 100, 110 and 200 meters in the short speed and 400 meters in the long speed. In general , they are carried out on an open track , but if it is covered, only 60 meters are run. Two of the most popular competitions are:

  • 100 Meters Female : the first hurdle is placed 13 meters from the starting line, the interval between the hurdles is 8.5 meters and there is a distance of 10.5 meters between the last hurdle and the finish. The fence has a height of 84 cms.
  • 110 Meters Men : the first hurdle is 13.72 meters from the starting line, the interval between the hurdles is 9.14 meters and the last one is 14 meters from the finish line. The fence is 1.06 meters .
  • 400 Meters Male and Female : includes the passage of 10 hurdles . The first fence is 45 meters from the start line and they are separated by a distance of 35 meters and the last one is 40 meters from the finish


The competitions are held on a standard track, which has 6 to 8 lanes . In the track 400 meters long, there will be two parallel lines and two curves whose radii are equal, the inner part of the track is limited by an edge of about 5 centimeters of high and a minimum 5 cm of width .

The distance of the hurdles race will be measured from the edge of the start line that is furthest from the finish line, to the edge of the finish line that is closest to the start. In all hurdles races, each athlete will have an individual lane , marked by lines 5 cm wide. In international competitions organized under the control of the iaaf the track must have 8 lanes.

Fences measurements

In the 100-meter races there are a total of 10 hurdles , located at a height of 84 centimeters. This race only has a female category.

In the 110-meter races, 10 hurdles must be overcome , with a height of 1,367 meters. This occurs only in the male category.

In the 400-meter races, 10 hurdles are overcome , which in the male category have a height of 91.4 centimeters and in the female category 76.2 centimeters.


Athletes must wear clothing suitable for sports, they must be made with a fabric that is not transparent and is dry-fit.  Clothing that obstructs the view of the judges may not be worn . The shirts must have the same color on the front and back with their respective names or numbers.

As for the shoes , shoes should be used that provide protection and stability to the feet and a correct grip on the ground. The shoe that has spikes or nails is allowed . All types of shoes must be approved by the IAAF.

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