This branch of athletics, if a high degree of merit is to be attained, calls for certain physical qualities not possessed by all. The hurdler should be rather above the middle height – about 5 ft. 9 in
strong, gapple of limb, and active, and he should be able to sprint well.
The athlete keen on hurdling can improve by performing various exercises in his spare time, such, for example, as periodically bending his body in the correct position required to dear a hurdle. This can be done by sitting on the ground with the leg that first passes over the hurdle stretched full out, the body bent well forward, and the other leg flexed in the position for following over the hurdle.
A simple exercise for preparing the leg that follows over is to place it on a table rather above the height of a high hurdle (3 ft. 6 in.) at the proper angle to the body, and elevate the foot a little higher than the knee.
Since the first leg is stretched right out in jumping the hurdle, beneficial practice can be obtained by indulging in kicking at an object placed at such a height that the toe will just touch it when the leg is shot out full stretch.
Sprinting should form part of the hurdlers practice, as also should starting. If the hurdler goes over with the. Left leg first, in practising the start, he should lead off with the right leg. Correct style is essential to suooess in this branch of athletics, and a competitor who goes over properly will more than make up for any deficiency in pace when oompeting with a fast runner who is an indifferent hurdler. Throughout a race the heels should never be allowed to touch the ground, all running and landing from the flight over hurdles being on the ball of the feet.
Hurdling usually takes place on a grass track over distances of 120 yards, 229 yards and 440 yards. In the first-named the hurdles are 3 foot 6 inches high, with level top rails, the first hurdle being 15 yards from the starting point, and the others at equal intervals of 10 yards. In the longer racos of 220 yards and 440 yards the hurdles are 2 foot 6 inches high, and twenty yards apart.
The amateur record for the 120 yards is held jointly by E. J. Thomson. 1920, and E. Wennstrora, 1929, 149 seconds; the 220 yards by C. R. Brookins, 1924, 23 seconds; and the 440 yards jointly by J. A. Gibson, 1927, and E. Vilen, 1932, 523 seconds.