/stee"peuhl chays'/, n., v., steeplechased, steeplechasing.
1. a horse race over a turf course furnished with artificial ditches, hedges, and other obstacles over which the horses must jump.
2. a point-to-point race.
3. a foot race run on a cross-country course or over a course having obstacles, as ditches, hurdles, or the like, which the runners must clear.
4. to ride or run in a steeplechase.
[1795-1805; STEEPLE + CHASE1; so called because the course was kept by sighting a church steeple]

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Either of two distinct sporting events: (1) a horse race over a closed course with obstacles, including hedges and walls; or (2) a footrace of 3,000 m over hurdles and a water jump.

The name derives from impromptu races by fox hunters in 18th-century Ireland over natural country in which church steeples served as course landmarks. Equestrian steeplechase is popular in England, France, and Ireland, and to a lesser extent in the U.S. The most famous equestrian steeplechase is the Grand National. Track-and-field steeplechase dates back to a cross-country race at the University of Oxford in 1850. The course and distance were standardized at the 1920 Olympic Games.

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      in athletics (track-and-field), a footrace over an obstacle course that includes such obstacles as water ditches, open ditches, and fences.

      The sport dates back to a cross-country race at the University of Oxford in 1850. As an Olympic (Olympic Games) track event (for men only), it was first run in the 1900 Games, and by the 1920 Games it was standardized at 3,000 metres, or about 7.5 laps on a 400-metre track. The steeplechase is also contested at a distance of 2,000 metres in international meets, though not at the Olympic Games. Scandinavian runners, such as Volmari Iso-Hollo (Iso-Hollo, Volmari) of Finland, were the top finishers from the 1920s through the '40s, but Kenyan athletes, led by Kip Keino (Keino, Kip) and Moses Kiptanui, came to dominate the event after midcentury.

      Runners of the standard course face a total of 7 water jumps and 28 hurdling jumps. Hurdles are 91.4 cm (36 inches) high, and one of them, which has a top bar of 12.7 cm (5 inches), is placed immediately in front of the water jump, which is 3.66 metres (12 feet) long.

      in horse racing, a race over jumps or obstacles. Although dating back to Xenophon (4th century BC), it derives its name from impromptu races by fox hunters in 18th-century Ireland over natural country in which church steeples served as course landmarks. It differs from hurdle racing, in which the barriers or hurdles are portable. Steeplechasing was long a favourite sport of cavalry officers. It is popular in England, France, and Ireland and to a lesser extent in the United States.

      Because of the stamina that is required, mature horses are preferred, and racing through age 10 and beyond is not uncommon. Many steeplechasers are “half-bred,” the term applied to any horse that is not a pure Thoroughbred. The most famous steeplechase race is the Grand National held annually at Aintree, near Liverpool, Eng., over a distance of 4 miles 855 yards (7,180 m.) with 30 or so fences. It has been won several times by horses carrying 175 pounds (79 kg). Other steeplechase events include the Irish Grand National and the Grand Steeplechase de Paris. An American steeplechase, the Maryland Hunt Cup, was first run in 1894 in Glyndon, Md. The steeplechase appears in the Olympic Games as part of the three-day event in equestrian competition.

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Universalium. 2010.

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