400 Metres Hurdles
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400 Metres Hurdles
400 metres hurdles
Naisten 400 m aidat.jpg
Women's 400m hurdles.
Men's records
World United States Kevin Young 46.78 (1992)
Olympic United States Kevin Young 46.78 (1992)
Women's records
World Russia Yuliya Pechonkina 52.34 (2003)
Olympic Jamaica Melaine Walker 52.64 (2008)

The 400 metres hurdles is a track and field hurdling event. The event has been on the Olympic athletics programme since 1900 for men and since 1984 for women.

On a standard outdoor track, 400 metres is the length of the inside lane, once around the stadium. Runners stay in their lanes the entire way after starting out of the blocks and must clear ten hurdles that are evenly spaced around the track. The hurdles are positioned and weighted so that they fall forward if bumped into with sufficient force, to prevent injury to the runners. Although there is no longer any penalty for knocking hurdles over, runners prefer to clear them cleanly, as touching them during the race slows runners down.

The best male athletes can run the 400 m hurdles in a time of around 47 seconds, while the best female athletes achieve a time of around 53 seconds. The current men's and women's world record holders are Kevin Young with 46.78 seconds and Yuliya Pechonkina with 52.34 seconds. Compared to the 400 metres run, the hurdles race takes the men about three seconds longer and the women four seconds longer.

The 400 m hurdles was held for both sexes at the inaugural IAAF World Championships in Athletics. The first championship for women came at the 1980 World Championships in Athletics - being held as a one-off due to the lack of a race at the 1980 Summer Olympics.


The first awards in a 400 m hurdles race were given in 1860 when a race was held in Oxford, England, over a course of 440 yards (402.336 m). While running the course, participants had to clear twelve wooden hurdles, over 100 centimetres tall, that had been spaced in even intervals.

To reduce the risk of injury, somewhat more lightweight constructions were introduced in 1895 that runners could push over. However, until 1935 runners were disqualified if they pushed over more than three hurdles in a race and records were only officially accepted if the runner in question had cleared all hurdles clean and left them all standing.

The 400 m hurdles became an Olympic event at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. At the same time, the race was standardized so that virtually identical races could be held and the finish times compared to each other. As a result, the official distance was fixed to 400 metres, or one lap of the stadium, and the number of hurdles was reduced to ten. The official height of the hurdles was set to 91.4 cm (3 feet) for men and 76.20 cm (2 ft, 6 inches) for women. The hurdles were now placed on the course with a run-up to the first hurdle of 45 metres, a distance between the hurdles of 35 metres each, and a home stretch from the last hurdle to the finish line of 40 metres.

The first documented 400 m hurdles race for women took place in 1971. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) introduced the event officially as a discipline in 1974, although it was not run at the Olympics until 1984, the first Men's World Champion having been crowned the year before at the inaugural IAAF World Championships in Athletics. A special edition of the Women's 400m Hurdles happened in the 1980 IAAF World Championships in Athletics in response to the Women's 400m Hurdles not being included in the boycotted 1980 Moscow Olympics and the Liberty Bell Classic.

Many athletic commentators and officials have often brought up the idea of lifting the height of the women's 400 m hurdles to incorporate a greater requirement of hurdling skill. This is a view held by German athletic coach Norbert Stein: "All this means that the women's hurdles for specialists, who are the target group to be dealt with in this discussion, is considerably depreciated in skill demands when compared to the men's hurdles. It should not be possible in the women's hurdles that the winner is an athlete whose performance in the flat sprint is demonstrably excellent but whose technique of hurdling is only moderate and whose anthropometric characteristics are not optimal. This was the case at the World Championships in Seville and the same problem can often be seen at international and national meetings."[]

Hurdling technique

"The 400m hurdle race one of the most demanding of all events in the sprint-hurdle group." (Lindeman) It requires speed, endurance, and hurdling technique all along with unique awareness and special concentration throughout the race.

Block start

When preparing to hurdle, the blocks should be set so that the athlete arrives at the first hurdle leading on the desired leg without inserting a stutter step. A stutter step is when the runner has to chop his or her stride down to arrive on the "correct" leg for take off. Throughout the race, any adjustments to stride length stride speed should be made several strides out from the hurdle because a stutter or being too far from the hurdle at take off will result in loss of momentum and speed.


At the beginning of the take-off, the knee must be driven toward the hurdle and the foot then extended. The knee should be slightly bent when crossing the hurdle. Unless an athlete's body has great flexibility, the knee must be slightly bent to allow a forward body lean. Unlike the 110m hurdles, a significant forward body lean is not that necessary due to the hurdles being lower. However, the trail leg must be kept bent and short to provide a quick lever action allowing a fast hurdle clearance. The knee should pull through under the armpit and should not be flat across the top of the hurdle.

It is also important that the hurdler doesn't reach out on the last stride before the hurdle as this will result in a longer bound being made to clear the hurdle. This will also result in a loss of momentum if the foot lands well in front of the center of gravity.

Stride length

Using a left lead leg on the bends allows the hurdler to run closer to the inside of the lane and cover a shorter distance. Additionally, if the left leg is used for the lead, then the athlete's upper body can be leaned to the left, making it easier to bring the trail leg through. Additionally, an athlete hurdling with a right leg lead around the bends must take care that they do not inadvertently trail their foot or toe around the hurdle rather than passing over the top, which would lead to a disqualification from the race. Depending on the height and strength of the athlete, men work toward a stride pattern of 13 to 15 steps between each hurdle, and women work toward a stride pattern of 15 to 17. This does not include the landing step from the previous hurdle. Weaker athletes will typically hold a longer step pattern throughout the race so that they do not bound or reach with each step, which also results in a loss of speed. These patterns are ideal because it allows the hurdler to take off from their predominant leg throughout the race without switching legs. However, fatigue from the race will knock athletes of their stride pattern and force runners to switch legs. At an early age, many coaches train their athletes to hurdle with both legs. This is a useful skill to learn since as a runner tires, their stride length may decrease, resulting in the need either to add a stutter stride, or to take a hurdle on the other leg. The 400 metre hurdles is a very physically demanding race. It requires intense training to get the endurance, speed and technique needed to compete.

All-time top 25

As of May 2018[1]


Rank Time Athlete Country Date Venue Ref
1 46.78 Kevin Young  United States 6 August 1992 Barcelona
2 47.02 Edwin Moses  United States 31 August 1983 Koblenz
Rai Benjamin  United States 8 June 2018 Eugene [2]
4 47.03 Bryan Bronson  United States 21 June 1998 New Orleans
5 47.10 Samuel Matete  Zambia 7 August 1991 Zürich
6 47.19 Andre Phillips  United States 25 September 1988 Seoul
7 47.23 Amadou Dia Ba  Senegal 25 September 1988 Seoul
8 47.24 Kerron Clement  United States 26 June 2005 Carson, California
9 47.25 Félix Sánchez  Dominican Republic 29 August 2003 Paris, Saint-Denis
Angelo Taylor  United States 18 August 2008 Beijing
11 47.30 Bershawn Jackson  United States 9 August 2005 Helsinki
12 47.37 Stéphane Diagana  France 5 July 1995 Lausanne
13 47.38 Danny Harris  United States 10 July 1991 Lausanne
14 47.41 Abderrahman Samba  Qatar 10 June 2018 Stockholm [3]
15 47.43 James Carter  United States 9 August 2005 Helsinki
16 47.48 Harald Schmid  West Germany 8 September 1982 Athens
17 47.53 Hadi Soua'an Al-Somaily  Saudi Arabia 27 September 2000 Sydney
18 47.54 Derrick Adkins  United States 5 July 1995 Lausanne
Fabrizio Mori  Italy 10 August 2001 Edmonton
20 47.60 Winthrop Graham  Jamaica 4 August 1993 Zürich
21 47.63 Johnny Dutch  United States 26 June 2010 Des Moines
22 47.66 A L. J. van Zyl  South Africa 25 February 2011 Pretoria
47.66 31 May 2011 Ostrava
23 47.67 Bennie Brazell  United States 11 June 2005 Sacramento
24 47.69 Jehue Gordon  Trinidad and Tobago 15 August 2013 Moscow
25 47.70 Michael Tinsley  United States 15 August 2013 Moscow


Below is a list of all other times superior to 47.35:


As of May 2018[4]

Rank Time Athlete Nation Date Place Ref
1 52.34 Yuliya Pechonkina  Russia 8 August 2003 Tula
2 52.42 Melaine Walker  Jamaica 20 August 2009 Berlin
3 52.47 Lashinda Demus  United States 1 September 2011 Daegu
4 52.61 Kim Batten  United States 11 August 1995 Gothenburg
5 52.62 Tonja Buford-Bailey  United States 11 August 1995 Gothenburg
6 52.64 Dalilah Muhammad  United States 25 June 2017 Sacramento [5]
7 52.70 Natalya Antyukh  Russia 8 August 2012 London [6]
8 52.74 Sally Gunnell  Great Britain 19 August 1993 Stuttgart
9 52.75 Shamier Little  United States 25 June 2017 Sacramento [7]
Sydney McLaughlin  United States 13 May 2018 Knoxville [8]
11 52.77 Fani Halkia  Greece 22 August 2004 Athens
12 52.79 Sandra Farmer-Patrick  United States 19 August 1993 Stuttgart
Kaliese Spencer  Jamaica 5 August 2011 London
14 52.82 Deon Hemmings  Jamaica 31 July 1996 Atlanta
15 52.83 Zuzana Hejnová  Czech Republic 15 August 2013 Moscow
16 52.89 Daimí Pernía  Cuba 25 August 1999 Seville
17 52.90 Nezha Bidouane  Morocco 25 August 1999 Seville
18 52.94 Marina Stepanova  Soviet Union 17 September 1986 Tashkent
19 52.95 Sheena Johnson  United States 11 July 2004 Sacramento
Kori Carter  United States 25 June 2017 Sacramento [9]
21 53.02 Irina Privalova  Russia 27 September 2000 Sydney
22 53.11 Tatyana Ledovskaya  Soviet Union 29 August 1991 Tokyo
Ashley Spencer  United States 25 June 2017 Sacramento [10]
24 53.14 Georganne Moline  United States 25 June 2017 Sacramento [11]
25 53.17 Debbie Flintoff-King  Australia 28 September 1988 Seoul


Below is a list of all other times superior to 52.88.


Most successful athletes

American athlete Glenn Davis had a prodigious start to his hurdling career, running his first race in April 1956 in 54.4 s. Two months later, he ran a new world record with 49.5 s and later that year he won the 400 m hurdles at the Olympics, and was also the first to repeat that feat in 1960.

In terms of success and longevity in competition, Edwin Moses' record is significant: he won 122 races in a row between 1977 and 1987 plus two gold medals, at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montréal and the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. He was undefeated for exactly nine years nine months and nine days, from 26 August 1977 until 4 June 1987. The U.S. boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow prevented him from winning a hat-trick of gold medals, but his career is nonetheless widely regarded as one of the most successful in hurdling. He finished third in the 1988 Olympic final, the last race in his professional career. He also held the world record for sixteen years from when he first broke it at the Olympics on 25 July 1976 (twice in one day) until it was finally broken by Kevin Young at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

Edwin Moses

Olympic medalists


Games Gold Silver Bronze
1900 Paris
 Walter Tewksbury (USA)  Henri Tauzin (FRA)  George Orton (CAN)
1904 St. Louis
 Harry Hillman (USA)  Frank Waller (USA)  George Poage (USA)
1908 London
 Charles Bacon (USA)  Harry Hillman (USA)  Jimmy Tremeer (GBR)
1912 Stockholm not included in the Olympic program
1920 Antwerp
 Frank Loomis (USA)  John Norton (USA)  August Desch (USA)
1924 Paris
 Morgan Taylor (USA)  Erik Wilén (FIN)  Ivan Riley (USA)
1928 Amsterdam
 David Burghley (GBR)  Frank Cuhel (USA)  Morgan Taylor (USA)
1932 Los Angeles
 Bob Tisdall (IRL)  Glenn Hardin (USA)  Morgan Taylor (USA)
1936 Berlin
 Glenn Hardin (USA)  John Loaring (CAN)  Miguel White (PHI)
1948 London
 Roy Cochran (USA)  Duncan White (CEY)  Rune Larsson (SWE)
1952 Helsinki
 Charles Moore (USA)  Yuriy Lituyev (URS)  John Holland (NZL)
1956 Melbourne
 Glenn Davis (USA)  Eddie Southern (USA)  Josh Culbreath (USA)
1960 Rome
 Glenn Davis (USA)  Clifton Cushman (USA)  Dick Howard (USA)
1964 Tokyo
 Rex Cawley (USA)  John Cooper (GBR)  Salvatore Morale (ITA)
1968 Mexico City
 David Hemery (GBR)  Gerhard Hennige (FRG)  John Sherwood (GBR)
1972 Munich
 John Akii-Bua (UGA)  Ralph Mann (USA)  David Hemery (GBR)
1976 Montreal
 Edwin Moses (USA)  Michael Shine (USA)  Yevgeniy Gavrilenko (URS)
1980 Moscow
 Volker Beck (GDR)  Vasyl Arkhypenko (URS)  Gary Oakes (GBR)
1984 Los Angeles
 Edwin Moses (USA)  Danny Harris (USA)  Harald Schmid (FRG)
1988 Seoul
 André Phillips (USA)  Amadou Dia Ba (SEN)  Edwin Moses (USA)
1992 Barcelona
 Kevin Young (USA)  Winthrop Graham (JAM)  Kriss Akabusi (GBR)
1996 Atlanta
 Derrick Adkins (USA)  Samuel Matete (ZAM)  Calvin Davis (USA)
2000 Sydney
 Angelo Taylor (USA)  Hadi Al-Somaily (KSA)  Llewellyn Herbert (RSA)
2004 Athens
 Félix Sánchez (DOM)  Danny McFarlane (JAM)  Naman Keïta (FRA)
2008 Beijing
 Angelo Taylor (USA)  Kerron Clement (USA)  Bershawn Jackson (USA)
2012 London
 Félix Sánchez (DOM)  Michael Tinsley (USA)  Javier Culson (PUR)
2016 Rio de Janeiro
 Kerron Clement (USA)  Boniface Mucheru Tumuti (KEN)  Yasmani Copello (TUR)


World Championships medalists



  • The official IAAF World Championships in Athletics began in 1983, but in 1980, the women's 3000 metres and 400 metres hurdles events had a World Championship competition in Sittard, Netherlands. This was due to these events not yet being on the Olympic program (the same had happened in 1976 for the men's 50 km walk).[12]

Championships Gold Silver Bronze
1980 Sittard
 Bärbel Broschat (GDR)  Ellen Neumann (GDR)  Petra Pfaff (GDR)
1983 Helsinki
 Yekaterina Fesenko (URS)  Ana Ambrazien? (URS)  Ellen Neumann-Fiedler (GDR)
1987 Rome
 Sabine Busch (GDR)  Debbie Flintoff (AUS)  Cornelia Feuerbach (GDR)
1991 Tokyo
 Tatyana Ledovskaya (URS)  Sally Gunnell (GBR)  Janeene Vickers (USA)
1993 Stuttgart
 Sally Gunnell (GBR)  Sandra Farmer-Patrick (USA)  Margarita Ponomaryova (RUS)
1995 Gothenburg
 Kim Batten (USA)  Tonja Buford (USA)  Deon Hemmings (JAM)
1997 Athens
 Nezha Bidouane (MAR)  Deon Hemmings (JAM)  Kim Batten (USA)
1999 Seville
 Daimí Pernía (CUB)  Nezha Bidouane (MAR)  Deon Hemmings (JAM)
2001 Edmonton
 Nezha Bidouane (MAR)  Yuliya Pechonkina (RUS)  Daimí Pernía (CUB)
2003 Saint-Denis
 Jana Pittman (AUS)  Sandra Glover (USA)  Yuliya Pechonkina (RUS)
2005 Helsinki
 Yuliya Pechonkina (RUS)  Lashinda Demus (USA)  Sandra Glover (USA)
2007 Osaka
 Jana Rawlinson (AUS)  Yuliya Pechenkina (RUS)  Anna Jesie? (POL)
2009 Berlin
 Melaine Walker (JAM)  Lashinda Demus (USA)  Josanne Lucas (TRI)
2011 Daegu
 Lashinda Demus (USA)  Melaine Walker (JAM)  Natalya Antyukh (RUS)
2013 Moscow
 Zuzana Hejnová (CZE)  Dalilah Muhammad (USA)  Lashinda Demus (USA)
2015 Beijing
 Zuzana Hejnová (CZE)  Shamier Little (USA)  Cassandra Tate (USA)
2017 London
 Kori Carter (USA)  Dalilah Muhammad (USA)  Ristananna Tracey (JAM)

Season's bests

External links

Notes and references

  1. ^ "400 Metres Hurdles Men All Time". IAAF. 
  2. ^ Roy Jordan (9 June 2018). "Benjamin and Norman break collegiate records at NCAA Championships". IAAF. Retrieved 2018. 
  3. ^ "400m Hurdles Results" (PDF). sportresult.com. 10 June 2018. Retrieved 2018. 
  4. ^ "400 Metres Hurdles Women All Time". IAAF. 
  5. ^ Roy Jordan (25 June 2017). "Muhammad wins historic 400m hurdles race at US Championships". IAAF. Retrieved 2017. 
  6. ^ "400 Metres Hurdles Results". IAAF. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 2012. 
  7. ^ Roy Jordan (25 June 2017). "Muhammad wins historic 400m hurdles race at US Championships". IAAF. Retrieved 2017. 
  8. ^ Jon Mulkeen (14 May 2018). "McLaughlin smashes own world U20 400m hurdles record with 52.75 in Knoxville". IAAF. Retrieved 2018. 
  9. ^ Roy Jordan (25 June 2017). "Muhammad wins historic 400m hurdles race at US Championships". IAAF. Retrieved 2017. 
  10. ^ Roy Jordan (25 June 2017). "Muhammad wins historic 400m hurdles race at US Championships". IAAF. Retrieved 2017. 
  11. ^ Roy Jordan (25 June 2017). "Muhammad wins historic 400m hurdles race at US Championships". IAAF. Retrieved 2017. 
  12. ^ IAAF World Championships in Athletics. GBR Athletics.

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