Track-and-field event, a footrace over a series of obstacles called hurdles. Runners must remain in assigned lanes throughout a race, and, though they may knock hurdles down while running over them, they may do so only with a leg or foot, not a hand. Modern hurdlers use a sprinting style between hurdles, display an exaggerated forward lean while clearing the hurdle, and then bring the trailing leg through at nearly a right angle to the body, which enables them to continue forward without breaking stride after clearing the hurdle. Hurdling distances are 110 m and 400 m for men and 100 m and 400 m for women.

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A hurdle is a moveable section of light fence. Traditionally they were made from wattle (woven split branches), but modern hurdles are often made of metal. Hurdles are used for handling livestock, as decorative fencing, for horse racing and in the track and field event of hurdling.


  • Traditional hurdles are made from wattle, usually of hazel or willow. Hurdle-making is a traditional woodland craft, done by placing upright sticks in holes in a log and weaving split branches between them. Historically they were used to pen livestock or to separate land in open field systems, but they are now popular as decorative fencing for gardens. In medieval England such a hurdle was sometimes used as a makeshift sledge, to which a prisoner was tied to be dragged behind a horse to a place of execution.
  • Modern livestock hurdles are used for sorting, handling or loading animals where permanent fencing is impractical or uneconomic. They are made of steel or aluminium, and vary in size. For sheep, they are usually long and high, while for cattle they are commonly or more long and high. They are usually joined by pins or hooks, both to each other and to handling facilities such as a cattle crush. While individual hurdles are easily knocked over by animals, when joined in a ring or to solid objects they make a secure fence. Single hurdles are often used a temporary gate or to block a gap in a hedge. Hurdles are often supplied in a set together with a mobile cattle crush and a trailer for easy transport.
  • Hurdles used as jumps in horse racing are similar to traditional hurdles.
  • The barriers used in track and field hurdling vary. A bar firmly attached to two posts is used for long-distances, while a light metal frame on a stand is used for sprint hurdling.

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