The 200m IH
The 200m hurdles event is quite rare. It was last contested at the Olympic level in 1904 and has all but disappeared from regular national and world level meets. Normally, the 200 is run over hurdles that are the same height as for the 400m IH, but it has sometimes been run as a “low hurdles” event. Most performances in the record progression are marked as “straight”, suggesting that the event was probably an exhibition held on a specially constructed straight line course. When the 200m IH is contested on a standard outdoor track, hurdle spacing is a dilemma for meet directors. The 400m IH has 35 meters between hurdles, with 45 meters to the first hurdle and a 40m run-in at the end. Preserving the spirit of this arrangement using 5 hurdles placed around the second curve and along the homestretch would require special hurdle placement markings that few tracks have. The usual “fix” is just to use the last 5 placements of the 400m hurdle event. This is convenient for meet management, but track geometry dictates that competitors must face down a first rank of hurdles that is only 20m away. Wouldn’t it be natural to run the 200m hurdles indoors? Once around the track over barriers, just like the outdoor race but only half as long? Unfortunately, indoor tracks often have 36-inch lanes going around the track (with 48-inch sprint lanes.) Hurdles, which are required to extend completely across the lane, would be too wide to fit anywhere but in the sprint lanes. That’s why you’ll often see the 55m HH run indoors, but never the 200m IH.