Q&A #21

Who holds the Men's and Women's steeplechase world records? ____

The official world record in the 3000 m steeplechase for men is held by Saif Saaeed Shaheen of Qatar (formerly Stephen Cherono of Kenya) at 7:53.63 and was set on 3 September 2004, during the Memorial van Damme in Brussels. On 16 August 2002, Brahim Boulami of Morocco ran 7:53.17 but this has not been ratified by the IAAF, as Boulami was banned for two years in 2003 after testing positive for EPO.

The first person to run the steeplechase in under eight minutes was Moses Kiptanui of Kenya, who ran it in 7:59.18 on 16 August 1995, in Zürich, Switzerland.

The official world record in the 3000 m steeplechase for women is held by Gulnara Galkina-Samitova of Russia at 8:58.81 and was set at the 2008 Olympics. She is the only woman to have run it under nine minutes.


Water jump in the steeplechase 1908 Summer Olympics in London

The event originated in the British Isles. Horses and riders raced from one town's steeple to the next. The steeples were used as markers due to their visibility over long distances. Along the way runners inevitably had to jump streams and low stone walls separating estates. The modern athletics event originates from a two-mile (3.2 km) cross country steeplechase that formed part of the University of Oxford sports (in which many of the modern athletics events were founded) in 1860. It was replaced in 1865 by an event over barriers on a flat field, which became the modern steeplechase. It has been an Olympic event since the inception of the modern Olympics, though with varying lengths. Since the 1968 Summer Olympics the steeplechase in the Olympics has been dominated by Kenyan athletes, including a clean sweep of the medals at the2004 Games.

The steeplechase for women is 3,000 metres long, but with lower barriers than for the men. A distance of 2,000 metres, with a shorter water jump, was experimented with before the current race format was established. It made its first major championship appearance at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki. In 2008, women's 3,000 meters steeplechase appeared for the first time on the Olympic tracks in Beijing(see Athletics at the 2008 Summer Olympics – Women's 3000 metres steeplechase).

Other divisions including masters athletics and youth athletics run 2,000 metres distances. The format for that race removes the first two barriers of the first lap.[1]

The steeplechase at the 1932 Olympics was run over approximately 3460 metres due to a lap 

World record progression


Manual timing

8:49.6 Sándor Rozsnyói (HUN)Bern1954-08-28
8:47.8 Pentti Karvonen (FIN)Helsinki1955-07-01
8:45.4 Pentti Karvonen (FIN)Oslo1955-07-15
8:45.4 Vasiliy Vlasenko (URS)Moscow1955-08-18
8:41.2 Jerzy Chromik (POL)Brno1955-08-31
8:40.2 Jerzy Chromik (POL)Budapest1955-09-11
8:39.8 Semyon Rzhishchin (URS)Moscow1956-08-14
8:35.6 Sándor Rozsnyói (HUN)Budapest1956-09-16
8:35.5 Semyon Rzhishchin (URS)Tallinn1958-07-21
8:32.0 Jerzy Chromik (POL)Warsaw1958-08-02
8:31.4 Zdzisław Krzyszkowiak (POL)Tula1960-06-26
8:31.2 Grigoriy Taran (URS)Kiev1961-05-28
8:30.4 Zdzisław Krzyszkowiak (POL)Wałcz1961-06-26
8:29.6 Gaston Roelants (BEL)Leuven1963-09-07
8:26.4 Gaston Roelants (BEL)Leuven1965-08-07
8:24.2 Jouko Kuha (FIN)Stockholm1968-07-17
8:22.2 Vladimir Dudin (URS)Kiev1969-08-19
8:22.0 Kerry O'Brien (AUS)Berlin1970-07-04
8:20.8 Anders Gärderud (SWE)Helsinki1972-09-14
8:20.8 Ben Jipcho (KEN)Lagos1973-01-15
8:19.1 Ben Jipcho (KEN)Helsinki1973-06-19
8:10.4 Anders Gärderud (SWE)Oslo1975-06-25
8:09.8 Anders Gärderud (SWE)Stockholm1975-07-01
8:08.2 Anders Gärderud (SWE)Montreal1976-07-28
8:05.4 Henry Rono (KEN)Seattle1978-05-13
Electronic timing
8:05.35 Peter Koech (KEN)Stockholm1989-07-03
8:02.08 Moses Kiptanui (KEN)Zürich1992-08-19
7:59.18 Moses Kiptanui (KEN)Zürich1995-08-16
7:59.08 Wilson Boit Kipketer (KEN)Zürich1997-08-13
7:55.72 Bernard Barmasai (KEN)Cologne1997-08-24
7:55.28 Brahim Boulami (MAR)Brussels2001-08-24
7:53.63 Saif Saaeed Shaheen (QAT)Brussels2004-09-03

† Until 2002 Saif Saaeed Shaheen was known as Stephen Cherono, and represented Kenya.


Electronic timing
10:34.5 Sara Heeb (USA)Walnut1996-04-20
10:30.2 Gracie Padilla (USA)Los Angeles1996-05-17
10:23.47 Courtney Meldrum (USA)Atlanta1996-06-23
10:19.6 Karen Harvey (CAN)Walnut1998-04-18
9:55.28 Daniela Petrescu (ROM)Bucharest1998-06-21
9:48.88 Yelena Motalova (RUS)Tula1999-07-31
9:43.64 Cristina Casandra (ROM)Bucharest2000-08-07
9:40.20 Cristina Casandra (ROM)Reims2000-08-30
9:22.29 Justyna Bąk (POL)Milan2002-06-05
9:21.72 Alesya Turova (BLR)Ostrava2002-06-12
9:16.51 Alesya Turova (BLR)Gdańsk2002-07-27
9:08.33 Gulnara Samitova-Galkina (RUS)Tula2003-08-10
9:01.59 Gulnara Samitova-Galkina (RUS)Iraklio2004-07-04
8:58.81 Gulnara Samitova-Galkina (RUS)Beijing2008-08-17

All-time lists

Best year performance

Men's seasons best 

19688:24.2 Jouko Kuha (FIN)Stockholm
19698:22.2 Vladimiras Dudinas (URS)Kiev
19708:21.98 Kerry O'Brien (AUS)Berlin
19718:24.0 Kerry O'Brien (AUS)Adelaide
19728:20.8 Anders Gärderud (SWE)Helsinki
19738:13.91 Ben Jipcho (KEN)Helsinki
19748:14.2 Anders Gärderud (SWE)Helsinki
19758:09.70 Anders Gärderud (SWE)Stockholm
19768:08.02 Anders Gärderud (SWE)Montréal
19778:14.05 Michael Karst (FRG)Stockholm
19788:05.4 Henry Rono (KEN)Seattle
19798:17.92 Henry Rono (KEN)Champaign
19808:09.70 Bronisław Malinowski (POL)Moscow
19818:12.32 Mariano Scartezzini (ITA)Zagreb
19828:16.17 Henry Marsh (USA)Koblenz
19838:12.37 Henry Marsh (USA)Berlin
19848:07.62 Joseph Mahmoud (FRA)Brussels
19858:09.17 Henry Marsh (USA)Koblenz
19868:10.01 William Van Dijck (BEL)Brussels
19878:08.57 Francesco Panetta (ITA)Rome
19888:05.51 Julius Kariuki (KEN)Seoul
19898:05.35 Peter Koech (KEN)Stockholm
19908:10.95 Peter Koech (KEN)Hengelo
19918:06.46 Moses Kiptanui (KEN)Brussels
19928:02.08 Moses Kiptanui (KEN)Zürich
19938:06.36 Moses Kiptanui (KEN)Stuttgart
19948:08.80 Moses Kiptanui (KEN)Zürich
19957:59.18 Moses Kiptanui (KEN)Zürich
19968:05.68 John Kosgei (KEN)Milan
19977:55.72 Bernard Barmasai (KEN)Cologne