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Rules for Track Hurdles

By Mark Slingo

Hurdle events are events where athletes in a track race have to jump and clear barriers 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 a trailing leg bent behind the athlete. Hurdles are designed in an L-shape so that they fall forward if struck, lessening the chance of injuring the athlete.


Hurdle races are run over three race distances. Both men and women compete in the 400 meter hurdles. Men run the 110 meter hurdles and women compete in the 100 meter hurdles event.


In the 400 meter event the height of the hurdle is designated as 0.9 meters for men and 0.76 meters for women. The 110 meter hurdles sees higher hurdles measuring 1.06 meters. Hurdles for the 100 meters are 0.84 meters high.

Distance Between the Hurdles

The distance between the hurdles in the 400 meter event is 35 meters. The distance from the start line to the first hurdle is 45 meters and from the last hurdle to the finish is 40 meters. In the 110 meter hurdles there must be 9.14 meters between the hurdles, 13.73 meters between the start and the first hurdle, and 14.02 meters between the final hurdle and the finish. The women's event has the hurdles slightly closer together with a gap of 8.5 meters, and 13 meters from the start to the first hurdle with a gap of 10.5 meters between the last hurdle and the finish line.

Knocking Over

Athletes must attempt to clear every hurdle in their path. Knocking over hurdles is permitted accidentally but not deliberately, which can result in disqualification. This is at the discretion of the referee. Knocking over hurdles considerably slows the athlete down.

Trailing Leg

The trailing leg of the athlete must clear the bar of every hurdle. Jumping the hurdle with the trailing leg coming around the side of the hurdle is not acceptable and will result in disqualification.


Runners must only attempt to clear hurdles in their own lanes.

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