Monday, November 18, 2019

Crested Butte’s Emma Coburn gunning for repeat of world title

“I’ve been healthy, feeling stronger than ever and faster than ever”

by Than Acuff

Our very own and New Balance professional athlete Emma Coburn is at it again and showing no signs of slowing down, as she is on pace to make a run at a repeat world title in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar on September 30.

The prestigious event occurs every two years. Coburn won the steeplechase at the 2017 world championships in London, posting a time of 9:02.58. She was in the mix for almost the entire race, eventually taking the lead on the final water jump and running away to take the title in the final 200 meters.

Coburn looks to be back on track this season with her coach and husband, Joe Bosshard, at the helm and Coburn opening the professional track and field Diamond League circuit in Oslo, Norway on June 14. Coburn placed fourth in Oslo with a time of 9:08 and, despite missing out of the top three, is happy with her opening race of the year.

“That’s the second fastest time I’ve had in a season opener race so I’m in a good spot,” says Coburn.

Coburn then headed to Stanford University for the Prefontaine Classic on Sunday, June 30, her second race of the Diamond League circuit.

That race had a little bit of everything for Coburn as she found herself bouncing back and forth between second and fifth place for most of the race. Coburn clipped a barrier that had her back in fourth but still in the mix. With the leader well ahead of the chase pack, Coburn was in a battle for second place and jumped her way into the second spot on the water barrier seven and a half minutes into the race. Still, once again, it wasn’t until the final water barrier that she managed to leave her closest competitor behind.

“I was in a tight battle for second and third and had another good water jump and pulled away,” says Coburn.

Coburn gained a couple of steps when they cleared the water jump and pressed the gas to pull away to take second place with a time of 9:04.90.

“The race was great. Joe told me to get out hard, so I did,” explains Coburn. “It was a good day. The winner of the race is the current world record holder. This was probably the best steeplechase field of all time, so I was happy to finish in second. 9:04.9 is my second fastest time ever, and had I not tripped, I think I would have run close to my PR.”

Her season continues and includes a return to Crested Butte for some training in July.

“I was here in May but none of the trails were runnable yet so I hope to get on them when I return,” says Coburn.

She will then head to the U.S. Track and Field Championships on July 25. Coburn currently has seven national steeplechase titles to her name and while the event is a qualifier for the world championships, Coburn is free of pressure this time around as her world title in 2017 automatically qualifies her for a spot in Qatar.

“I still hope to win, but I don’t have to win,” says Coburn.

Following that is more training and racing as she ramps up for the world championships.

“That’s what I’m keying everything for,” says Coburn.

As of right now her fastest time in the 3,000-meter steeplechase is 9:02. So far a handful of women have broken the nine-minute mark and Coburn is looking to reach that benchmark by the world championships.

“I definitely feel like that’s going to happen, that’s my goal,” says Coburn. “I’ve been healthy, feeling stronger than ever and faster than ever.”

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