Steeplechase: Honorary Race Chair Colleen Quigley's chaotic, crazy, awesome sport!
The GOTR-STL 5k is a little over a week away and we are getting so excited!! We are also super excited to have St. Louis native and Olympian, Colleen Quigley, as our honorary race chair this season! You may have heard how she’s a pretty big deal when it comes to the steeplechase, I mean she is an NCAA champion and an Olympian in the event, has represented the U.S. in two World Championship meets and the list goes on. Some of you may be wondering…what is the steeplechase? Well, let me give you the low-down on this super awesome track event (I may be a little biased).
The steeplechase is a 3,000-meter race that is seven and a half laps (almost 2 miles!) and includes hurdles / barriers and a water jump per lap. That means you hurdle 28 barriers and 7 water jumps throughout the race. The barriers do not move like hurdles in the sprint events, they are solid, stationary objects and the water pit is not just a puddle on the track. It is over 2 feet deep at its deepest point closest to the barrier and it slopes upward. Mostly everyone steps on the barrier at the water pit and will try to jump far enough out to try and clear the majority of the water but you’ll still end up with some wet shoes. This makes it like a combination of distance running, hurdling, and a long jump! While you’re racing this event you also have to worry about all of your competitors who are packed tightly in and jumping at the same time as you. Sounds exhausting, slightly dangerous, and super exciting, right?!
If you need more of a visual just search “steeplechase” or check out this video of Colleen and her teammate, Courtney Frerichs, practicing some water jumps.
Colleen is one of the top "steeplers" in the country but this didn’t happen for her overnight. She has put in years of hard work and sacrifice to get to where she is today. I admire not only Colleen’s athleticism and dedication to the sport but how she carries herself as a person. She has a great attitude and is a great teammate. Professional running is a little different from some other sports because sometimes your teammate is also someone you are competing against when it comes to races. That can be tricky to navigate but Colleen will encourage, hug, and high five her teammates even if her race didn’t turn out how she wanted it to. This is something our Girls on the Run are doing; empathizing with others and cheering everyone on.
It is a huge honor to have Colleen as Honorary Race Chair at our 5k and we hope you all get the chance to give her a high five out on the course or meet her at Superstar Station after the race. And don’t worry, we have not added any barriers or water pits to the 5k course this fall!!