Hurdle Race is popular field event in which both men and women participate. The rules for all hurdle events of all distances are the same. Hurdle races are track & field events where the racers have to jump and clear hurdles set at intermediate points around the race track. The jump is done as part of the sprint motion, with one leg stretched out in front and the trailing leg bent behind the racer.
There are three types of fence in chasing all of which are made of birch. The plain fence is around 4 ft 6 inches high as is the fence for the open ditch which has a 6 foot wide ditch on the take off side of the fence. The water jump is usually about 3 foot high with a 12 ft wide water hazard to clear. This later type of jump is slowly being phased out after a number of horses have been badly injured at these this type of jump.
The first jumps races most horse try are hurdle races. These are much less smaller forgiving obstacles. Nearly all horses who go on to be top chasers start their careers over hurdles although some horses never progress beyond hurdling. No horse can take part in a hurdle race until the July of the year they become 3 year olds. A hurdle must not be less than 3 ft 6 inches from the bottom to the top bar. The hurdles are made of willow or oak interspersed with birch. The top wooden bar is also padded to prevent the horse damaging themselves. A hurdle race will normally be run over a distance between 2 and 3 miles. National Hunt Flat races also known as Bumper races are designed to give younger horses course experience of racing. They are normally staged at the end of a National Hunt meeting and are over a distance of 2 miles. These races can be quite popular with race goers and there is even a championship flat race at the Cheltenham Festival Meeting.
There are sprint hurdle races and long hurdle races. The standard sprint hurdle race is 110 meters for men and 100 meters for women. The standard long hurdle race is 400 meters for both men and women. In the 100 meter event, the hurdles measure .84 meters in height. The first hurdle is set 13 meters from the starting line. There are 8.5 meters between hurdles and 10.5 meters from the final hurdle to the finish line. Hurdlers who wish to successfully compete in hurdle races will require the speed of a sprinter as well as the technical skills to clear the hurdles. Runners typically take seven to eight strides before hurdle one, then use a three-stride pattern for the rest.
People who can run fast and cross the hurdle with easy can go in for hurdle race. Hurdle race is for three distances. Both men and women go in for a 400 meter event. But a 110 meter race is meant only for men and 100 meter race is for women. If you notice all the three hurdle races have 10 hurdles which the competitor has to cross. All the 10 hurdles are evenly placed on the course. 110 meter hurdle race which is meant for men has hurdles which are 3 feet and 6 inches high. If you notice first hurdle would be placed 13.72 meters away from the starting line and the final hurdle is 14.02 meters from the finish. Other 8 hurdles are evenly spaced 9.14 meters apart.
100 meter hurdle race requires hurdle which is 2 feet, 9 inches high. The first hurdle race is 13 meters from the starting line while the final hurdle is 10.5 meters from the finish and the rest 8 are spaced 8.5 meters apart. 400 meter hurdles are 91.4 centimeters high while women’s measure 76.2 centimeters. Initial hurdle is placed 45 meters away from the starting line and final hurdle is 40 meters from the finish line and the rest of them are placed 35 meters apart.Hurdles rely on the sprinting events with periodic leaps. You can win the race only if you have good running speed. Work on your running techniques. Increase your stride lengths slowly by placing markers along the running track. Start with 60 meters, then 1.35 meters and so on till you reach 17.10 meters.
Learn to move out of the block quickly and count how far it takes to get to the first hurdle race. If you take odd steps, you should have your lead leg in the front block. If it takes even number, then place your lead leg in the back block. Develop a proper stride rhythm. Take seven or eight strides for first hurdle and three steps between each hurdle till the end of the race. Put up small blocks at each point on the track where the hurdles will go. Run the race distance, gradually raising the height of the hurdles. Try to clear the hurdle with atleast 1 foot every time. Try to develop the lift on your lead leg. Watch the trailing leg which is intended to drive you towards ad over the hurdle as you approach it. Sweep wide over the hurdle as you pass, turning the ankle to the side to avoid striking the top.
The present day rule is there is no penalty for hitting or knocking a hurdle race -as long the act is only accidental and not deliberate. The hurdles are designed to fall forward if knocked down by an athlete so as to prevent injury to the runners. But hitting a hurdle may slow down the rhythm and at times even the speed of the hurdler and can even disrupt the hurdler’s technique. However, willful pushing the hurdle with one’s hands or running out of one’s lane will attract disqualification.