Tag Archives: steeplechase

Steeplechase What?!

FullSizeRenderLast week, I drove up to Orlando with the Spanish River track team for the Disney Relays. The meet was a little hot (and sunny) but fun…but the highlight had to be the 2,000 Steeplechase event for high school boys. Two members of our team competed (jumping hurdles and steeplechases for the very first time), didn’t get injured and had a great time in the process.

I have to be honest…I questioned the idea at first…concerned that these runners would fall, slip, get trampled, etc. while trying out this “different” event…but my fellow Coach Doug Horn pushed for it, saying it would be fun for the boys…and he was right. They had a good time trying out an event…you rarely get the chance to compete in (especially in high school) and they did okay!

So, I figured I’d share some of the pictures from the race here…and also share some tips from steeplechase experts…

Also, check out this Runner’s World article on the subject.

Enjoy!

1. Don’t wear socks.

2. Have a strong core! The race requires you to get your legs up and over the barriers multiple times. Also, you don’t always land smooth. A strong core will help you keep your body in control and prevent a side stitch.

3. Run big. Running in any distance race where you are in a pack is tough. Now throw in some barriers to leap over and you have a disastrous mix if you aren’t careful. Find some space by staying outside, or being on the inside, but edge away from the first lane line a little to give yourself some space on one side. If people try to crowd you, lean towards them to make your presence know.

4. Don’t go out too fast. It is nice to be out in front and out of traffic, but if the pace is too fast at the start for you, the later stages of the race will be a death march. This race is unforgiving and just imagine being extremely fatigued with countless water jumps and barriers to make it over. Every hurdle is another momentum killer, so don’t burn up your energy too soon.

5. Learn to use hurdle with either leg. Out of all the steeplechase tips, this one is the most difficult to follow. You have to keep your momentum going, and you aren’t going to be counting steps between hurdles. Don’t do that choppy step routine or the long leg strides right before the barrier. Practice hurdling with your opposite leg. It makes a huge difference to be able to leap and not mess up your stride.

A Former HS Standout Returning To The National Stage

A fantastic read from Running Times Magazine about former Florida High School standout Mason Cathey and her return to the national (and potential world) stage. I found out that Mason was training for the Olympics a few months back and was truly inspired to hear about her journey back to competitive running/racing. She was a star in high school and someone I competed against every so often. (She was in a smaller A so I did not see her as often as you would think.) She went to the University of Florida and did not live up to her own expectations (I am sure) nor others…But after college, she began coaching at a few colleges and saw that she could train with her team of runners, and do well. She also apparently still had the bug. She has since competed along side of some of the best out there today…and I will be rooting for her at the USA trials in the 3K Steeplechase in June. Good luck!

Read the Running Times article here: Vaulting Onto the National Stage

And here is a small excerpt from the actual article if my lead-in wasn’t enough!

“My first sighting of Mason Cathey is burned on my retina like a sunspot. It was February of 1997, and it was my first day as volunteer pole vault coach at Bishop Kenny High School in Jacksonville, Florida. I was standing near the first turn of the track when this spry, blonde,14-year old girl raced by. What stood out about her—other than the fact she was 50 meters ahead of everyone else—was her form. Most girls, for whatever reason, waddle when they run—their arms swing across their body instead of forward—but not Mason. Her running stride was more like Bob Hayes, with the powerful hip torque, equating to a stride length that was not indicative of her 5’ 6” height.”