Hurdle race

Hurdle race is basically an athletic sport that includes the track and field in which an athlete runs over a series of obstacles that are set at a fixed distance. They are also known in the world of sports as obstacle races and involve the use of speed to reach the objective, which in this case is the goal.

Hurdle race

Related topics

Heptathlonobstacle race, relay race, speed race

What is hurdle race?

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

About hurdle race

A hurdle race is a speed competition that takes place along a racetrack. In this racetrack, athletes encounter a series of obstacles known as hurdles, which must be jumped by the athletes in order to continue the race, avoiding bouncing or touching them as much as possible. The first athlete to overcome all these obstacles and reach the finish line will be declared the winner of the competition.


The main characteristics that we can observe in fence races are the following:


Its history dates back to Oxford University when, in 1850, they organized a career where they had to overcome 10 hurdles. In 1888, France adjusts the distance of the hurdle race to 110 meters fixing the characteristics of the test. The men’s 110m hurdles have been held at Olympic Games since its first edition in Athens in 1896. The women’s 100m hurdles event is part of the Olympic Games since Munich, 1972. The 400m hurdles event in the women’s branch was admitted to the Olympic program in Los Angeles in 1984.


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

Phases of hurdle race


One of the main aspects of training is the athlete’s learning to pass 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 one of specialization.


Standard distances are 110 and 400 meters for men and 100 and 400 meters for women.

Races are held in individual lanes and participants 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 at the time of passing, or if he deliberately knocks down any fence with his hand or foot, he will be disqualified.


The categories competing in the hurdle race are as follows:

Male category

Female category

Hurdle race competitions

The tests in hurdle races are usually 100, 110 and 200 meters in the short speed and 400 meters in the long speed. They are usually held outdoors, but if it is indoor, they run 60 meters only. Two of the most popular competitions are:


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

The distance of the hurdle race shall be measured from the edge of the starting line furthest from the finish line to the edge of the finishing line nearest to the start. In all fence races, each athlete shall have an individual lanes, marked by lines 5 cm wide. In international competitions organized under the control of the track must have 8 lanes.

Measurements of fences

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

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

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


Athletes should wear suitable sports clothing, made from a non-transparent, dry-fit fabric. Clothing that impedes the vision of the judges should not be worn. T-shirts must have the same color in front and back with their respective names or numbers.

Shoes that provide protection and stability to the feet and correct adherence to the floor should be worn. It is allowed the shoe that has spikes or nails. All types of shoes must be approved by the IAAF.

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.

How to cite this article?

Briceño V., Gabriela. (2019). Hurdle race. Recovered on 23 February, 2024, de Euston96:

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