Milcah Chemos in action in the 3000m steeplechase (Getty Images)


Pos Athlete Mark Country
1 Jairus Kipchoge Birech 7:58.83 Kenya KEN
2 Evan Jager 8:00.45 United States USA
3 Ezekiel Kemboi 8:01.71 Kenya KEN
4 Conseslus Kipruto 8:05.20 Kenya KEN
5 Brimin Kiprop Kipruto 8:10.09 Kenya KEN


Pos Athlete Mark Country
1 Habiba Ghribi 9:05.36 Tunisia TUN
2 Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi 9:10.15 Kenya KEN
3 Sofia Assefa 9:12.63 Ethiopia ETH
4 Virginia Nyambura Nganga 9:13.85 Kenya KEN
5 Hiwot Ayalew 9:14.73 Ethiopia ETH


Pos Athlete Mark Country
1 Saif Saaeed Shaheen 7:53.63 Qatar QAT
2 Brimin Kiprop Kipruto 7:53.64 Kenya KEN
3 Paul Kipsiele Koech 7:54.31 Kenya KEN
4 Brahim Boulami 7:55.28 Morocco MAR
5 Bernard Barmasai 7:55.72 Kenya KEN


Pos Athlete Mark Country
1 Gulnara Galkina 8:58.81 Russia RUS
2 Yuliya Zaripova 9:05.02 Russia RUS
3 Habiba Ghribi 9:05.36 Tunisia TUN
4 Ekaterina Volkova 9:06.57 Russia RUS
5 Milcah Chemos Cheywa 9:07.14 Kenya KEN

3000 Metres steeplechase

How it works

Runners make bunched standing starts and can break immediately for the inside. The number of laps depends on the position of the water jump – inside or outside the track’s second bend – but competitors must always clear 28 fixed barriers and seven water jumps during a race’s duration.

The men’s barriers are 36in (91.4cm) high, the women’s 30in (76.2cm). The water jump’s landing area is 12ft (3.66m) long and 70cm at its deepest.


This event has its origins in Britain; runners would race from one town’s steeple to the next, jumping obstacles such as streams and low walls. The current event can be traced to the two-mile steeplechases run at Oxford University in the mid-19th century. It was made a track event, with barriers, at the 1879 English Championships.

The current format has been contested by men – initially over varying distances – in every Olympic Games since 1900. The women’s event was introduced as recently as 2008.

Did you know

When Amos Biwott became the first Kenyan to win the Olympic gold, in 1968, he did so by leaping over the water jump without putting his foot on top of the barrier.

Gold standard

Kenya is the dominant nation, winning the last six men’s Olympic titles and taking 13 of the 18 medals on offer in those races. Qatar and Bahrain are also strong, although their success is chiefly obtained via Kenyan-born athletes.

Russia and Kenya are the strongest nations in the fledgling women’s event.


Moses Kiptanui

He never won Olympic gold but he’s remembered as the ‘daddy’ of the event. He was the world’s leading steeplechaser between 1991 and 1995, broke the world record and landed three world titles: 1991, 1993 and 1995.

Gulnara Galkina

After exploding on to the scene in 2003 with a world record, the Russian improved on it in 2004 before taking Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008, becoming the first woman in history to break nine minutes.