Women's 3000 meter World Athletics Championships 2007 in Osaka, by Eckhard Pecher.
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Women's 3000 meter Steeplechase at the World Athletics Championships 2007 in Osaka, by Eckhard Pecher.

Steeplechase is a 3,000m race for both men and women, with youth and masters running 2,000m.

Unlike hurdles where the stride length and step count up to and between hurdles is precisely controlled, the athlete here does not count steps and will often have to adjust their stride before a jump.

There are 4 barriers and a water jump per lap. The men (from high school up) race over 36" barriers and youths, women, and men over 60 race over 30" barriers. The barriers are sturdy and will not move if the runner hits them, and indeed, many runners will actually plant a foot on them, especially as they tire.

The water jump, including the hurdle, is 3.66m (12 ft) long and the water pit is 3.66.m (12 ft) wide. The bottom of the water pit has a synthetic surface that allows the spikes to grip. The water depth next to the hurdle is 70cm for about 30cm, and then slopes upwards to the level of the track at the farther end of the water pit. The runner may jump over or through the water.

The distance between obstacles is not fixed, but they must be evenly spaced so that the distance between the jumps is approximately one fifth of the length of the lap.. The water jump must be the second last jump, and the final barrier must be 68m from the finish line.

The 3,000m has 28 hurdle jumps and 7 water jumps, and the 2,000m has 18 hurdle jumps and 5 water jumps.  In both events this requires that some hurdles be temporarily removed for the first lap.

For more information see the wikipedia steeplechase page.

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