Encyclopedia of Sport: Every sport from around the world

Steeplechase (Athletics)

Steeplechase is a sport of the track and field discipline, which involves athletes racing on a course with obstacles. The modern version of the sport originated from a cross country steeplechase race, which in turn was modeled after the steeplechase in horse racing.

A typical steeplechase race is for a distance of 3,000m. The course consists of 28 barriers and 7 water jumps. A distance of 2,000m is also used for races which has 18 barriers and 5 water jumps. Races are conducted for both men and women, but the barriers used for women are slightly smaller than that used for men.

Though steeplechace races are conducted on the same track as other track races, the water jump part of the course is not placed on the track. The water jump obstacles are either placed outside the turn or inside of the turn. Athletes are not required to maintain any lanes during the race.

Steeplechase has been a part of  Olympic Games since the first modern Olympics in 1924. It is also as a part of all major track and field competitions including the World Championships.

steeplechase racesteeplechase water jump

Steeplechase race like many other long distance races have been dominated by athletes from Kenya who have won the Olympic gold medal since 1984.

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