Steeplechase provides fun challenge for Foltz

Allie Jorgensen


Submitted by Lucy Foltz

Sophomore Lucy Foltz competes in the steeplechase for the first time at the Victor Lopez meet at Rice University.

Allie Jorgensen, Staff Writer

When the opportunity was offered at the Victor Lopez Classic this season at Rice University, sophomore Lucy Foltz decided to jump at the chance of trying the steeplechase despite never having practiced jumping over hurdles before. 

The 2,000-meter race consists of five barriers, which are 3-feet tall. At the foot of one of them is water for the runners to jump over. Foltz was excited to try something new and was excited about the unique challenge.

“It looked really fun and I thought I would be good at it considering I have good endurance and I’ve been told I would be a good candidate for the event,” she said.

While preparing for the race, coach Kimber Watson and Foltz’s family gave her tips and tricks for the event. Some of her family have run hurdles before, and Watson had previous experience in the steeplechase.

Steeplechase takes strength and perseverance. It is an event that combines distance running with hurdle work. The athlete goes over five barriers per lap. Each barrier is three lanes wide and made of solid metal. Only one of the barriers has water on the other side for the runners to try to avoid. 

During her high school career, Watson competed in steeplechase at the Texas Relays and the Junior Olympics. She said she  received good training from a coach who helped her on both the distance and hurdling side. 

While running in college, Watson decided not to compete in the event because it is an extra 2 ½ laps for collegiate competitors. However, she helped coach athletes in the event.

After her first steeplechase event, sophomore Lucy Foltz poses with two of her friends from Kingwood High School who also competed. (Submitted by Lucy Foltz)

Foltz only had one day to practice so Watson held a crash course on steeplechase. 

“Lucy is a gritty athlete so I felt like she has good potential in the event,” Watson said.

At Rice University on March 23, Foltz competed in the steeplechase for the first time. The race came just 25 minutes after she finished the 3,000 meters. She said thinking about it beforehand was scary because so many people were competing and all trying to go over the same barriers. 

“Stepping over all the barriers is definitely harder than it looks, especially the water one, because you have to jump out so you don’t fall in the water,” she said.

Foltz said the hardest part about steeplechase was getting over all the barriers fast. With five laps around the track, competitors get tired by the end.

Foltz said that she would definitely want to do steeplechase again. 

“I feel I would be great at it and would do better if I had more training, but this time was just for fun and it was a good experience,” she said.

Watson said Foltz did well in the event and got better at going over the barriers as the race progressed.

“She had never done it before so we stayed on two feet the whole time and that’s always the goal,” Watson said. 

Foltz said she hopes to compete in the event again and recommends others try it as well. 

“It is a fun event to switch things up,” she said. “They just need to know that it takes a lot of strength and endurance.”