February 3, 2023

The low hurdle race is a largely abandoned type in track-and-field hurdle competition. The race, typically held in close proximity to a distance of 200m, was popular up until 1960 on the international stage. Following that the IAAF has stopped ratifying records for the 200 metres low hurdles and the event was a much less popular event. United States high schools ran a shortened version of the race, the 180 yard low hurdles until 1974, when all states and the NFHS were able to run the low hurdles of 330 yards that were later modified to become the 300 meter intermediate hurdles which is a shorter version of the international 400 metres hurdles. Since the race was held in the era of men dominating it was not possible to find a female race equivalent. At the time the race was unable to maintain its world record position, women were only occasionally running hurdles and , when they did, they did it was over the 80-meter hurdles that were over barriers at the same height as men’s low hurdles.

The height of the low the hurdles was thirty inches. This was known as 2 feet and 6 inches or 76.2 centimetres. The same height women are now running on their longer hurdles, usually the 400-metre hurdles. These races were typically performed on straightways, necessitating tracks that were constructed that had large “chutes” in order to allow for hurdles. 200 m straight and the single turn of 400 metres (440 yards). The tracks are called “panhandle tracks.” In large stadiums where seating for football games was the main consideration These races began deep into a tunnel.

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With smaller hurdles, the race was much faster and less technical than the 110 metres hurdles, a race going over high hurdles, which is a foot (30 cm) higher. The sprinters could change into the low hurdles with success. Jesse Owens once held the world record in the 200-meter and the 220 yard low hurdles. These were set as part of the 1935 multiple world record day . The day was described as the most remarkable athletic feat in athletics since 1850.”

The final official world record holder of the competition took place Don Styron from Northeast Louisiana State University who’s 21.9 hand timed mark was recorded on April 2nd in 1960, at an event that was a dual match against Louisiana State University. The record has been held for a long time since. Modern races utilize Fully Automatic Timing (FAT). The fastest FAT time is 22.30 (with a wind of -0.6 milliseconds) set on May 16 2010, 2010 by Andy Turner set at the Manchester City Games in a special race. However, with standard conversion however, Styron’s time is superior. Turner was able to beat a time of 22.55 by Olympian Laurent Ottoz of Italy in 1995. Ottoz had beat the auto time by 22.63 in 1995 by British Olympic medalist and multi-time World Champion Colin Jackson, who held the world record for the more standard 110 metre hurdles over the course of nearly 13 years. The IAAF currently recognises three records; Styron as a hand timed mark on a straight, Turner as an automatic timed mark in a straight line, as well as Ottoz as an automatic timed mark around a bend.

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The record of the high school track in the low hurdles at 180 yards dates to 1964 when three boys, Earl McCullouch from Long Beach Polytechnic High School as well as Don Castronovo of Oceanside High School in Oceanside, New York and Steve Caminiti from Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino, California separately ran the low hurdles in the distance of 180 yards at 18.1. The record was never broken, and the event was eliminated in regular high school competitions ten years later in 1974.

Note that the Low Hurdles (on the turn) were contested at the high school girls levels, across the Illinois state from Illinois until 1985. These are the fastest times ever recorded.

1984-85 Nicolle Thompson – East St. Louis (Lincoln) – :27.0

1983-84 Sametra King – Romeoville (H.S.) – :27.3

1981-82 Chris Crowther – Joliet (West) – :27.7

1980-81 Loretta Wiltgen – Country Club Hills (Hillcrest) – :27.9

1979-80 Gwen Brown – East St. Louis (Lincoln) – :28.0

Although it is no longer raced by the United States, this race continues to be held in countries like Norway.

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