While most people might think of jumping over obstacles and puddles as some kind of horse race, steeplechase has been a regular track and field event for more than 150 years.
Recently, Hazelton athlete Regan Yee has been named to the Canadian national team which will be competing at the Pan Am Games July 26 to Aug. 11 in Lima, Peru. Her event is scheduled for Aug. 10 at 3:10 p.m. local time (1:10 Pacific Time).
She has also achieved the standard to compete in the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) World Championships in Doha, Qatar in October.
In the past, steeplechase was not often an event on the women’s agenda but it has been run for the last 20 years with the Kenyans dominating. They currently hold the top three rankings in the world.
Local track coach Neil Currie said that while Yee was not outstanding in the event as a high school athlete, her experience in cross-country and middle distance track events helped prepare her for the event when she moved on to university.
At Trinity Western University under the guidance of coach Mark Bomba, she has developed into one of Canada’s top runners in the event and began achieving performances which would qualify her for international level competitions. She is currently ranked in the top 40 in the world.
Her outstanding seasonal performances have been under the IAAF standard for international competitions and her second place finishes at national level meets have placed her on the national team which is headed for Lima.
Currie feels that with the expertise and experience of a coach such as Bomba, she is in good hands and is headed for more outstanding performances. While a run in the finals at the world meet may be a bit of a stretch, her top 10 ranking in the Pan Am competition puts her in good position for a final performance there.
He said that a lot of what happens at any particular competition at that level all comes down to who is at their best on that day.
He also indicated that the World Championships would be held in the ultra-modern air-conditioned Khalifa Stadium which has been host to a number of international competitions.
The event originated as a horse or cross country running race but was adjusted to become an Olympic event over 3000 meter distances with 28 barriers and seven water jumps. It was called the steeplechase since the original races were from the church steeple in one town to the next.