Create Hurdles

We are migrating from a family of Irish dancers to ones with a broader set of pursuits.  Our eldest is a runner and is adding hurdles to the track events she wants to participate in.  Unfortunately, her school does not have any hurdles for her to practice on.  A small challenge.

She’s pretty resourceful and found something approximately the right size to try clearing but it’s really not the same.  There are a bunch of simple hurdle designs on the Web, built using PVC.  Some of them are for strength training, and aren’t meant to tip over as they do for runners.  In the end, I cobbled together my own design which created 28″ high hurdles while minimizing the parts I would need.

You can build one 28″ tall hurdle using a single 3/4″ PVC pipe 10 feet long.  This will set you back about $10.  You will also need 4 3/4″ PVC round corners, for the two legs and the top rail.  If you don’t already have one, pick up a hacksaw.

There are a variety of heights for hurdles.  These are the smallest.  There are also a variety of widths, ranging from 41″ to 44″ from what I can tell.  This hurdle is narrower than that, in order to keep to one piece of pipe.  To construct this one, I cut 5 lengths:

  • two feet:  17″ each
  • one cross bar:  34″
  • two legs:  26″ each
5 piece hurdle design using 3/4" PVC pipe

5 piece hurdle design using 3/4″ PVC pipe

The round corners are 1″ deep so, when you press the legs into the corners, the top and bottom surface adds 2″, bringing you to 28″ on the top.  Press the pipe ends into the appropriate corner.  You just need to get them started, then hold onto the corner and press the exposed pipe end against the floor to firmly seat it.  No glue required.  Be sure to twist the top corners perpendicular to the bottom, so that the cross bar connects properly between the two legs.

These will stand on their own but if you are using them on grass, they can be tippy.  I bought a couple of pipe caps (in a box at Lowe’s on the same shelf as the round corners) and will fill the two feet pipes with sand and then place caps on them.  You could even block up the legs first, to ensure the sand doesn’t shift if the hurdles are tipped.

If she continues to do hurdles, the height will increase.  At that point, I will pull the top two corners off and get rid of them and the cross piece.  In their place, I will buy a 1″ pipe (or a size that will slide over the 3/4″ pipe) and make two short, 12″ leg caps to connect to a new, larger cross piece.  I will drill 4 sets of holes in each of the leg caps and one in the current 3/4″ legs, at the top, so that the new leg caps + cross bar can be raised and lowered as necessary.  That should cover all possible hurdling levels for women in high school.

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