“I did gain on the leader but didn’t have enough to catch her”
by Than Acuff
Emma Coburn, New Balance professional athlete and former Crested Butte Titan, just wrapped up her 2019 steeplechase season setting a new personal record time of 9:02.35 to place second at the IAAF Track and Field World Championships in Doha, Qatar on Monday, September 30.
It’s been another incredible season for Coburn as she opened the professional season on the Diamond League circuit with a fourth-place finish in Oslo, Norway and a second-place finish in at the Prefontaine Classic in California. Coburn continued her season throwing in the occasional 1,500-meter race, mixing in a training block on the trails in and around Crested Butte, winning her eighth national title in Iowa in late July and then heading to St. Moritz, Switzerland for additional training and a sixth-place finish at a Diamond League race in Zurich, Switzerland as she prepared to defend her IAAF title from 2017.
Following the world championship race on Monday, Coburn took some time to answer some questions via email from Qatar.
How were you feeling going into the world championships?
I was feeling really strong going into Worlds. I was training in St. Moritz, Switzerland for the five weeks leading up to Worlds. Basing in Europe was useful because the time change to Doha was just one hour from Switzerland so it made the travel much easier than if coming from Colorado. The training in Switzerland all went very well, I was able to do workouts that I had never done before and was feeling fitter than ever before.
How did preliminaries go?
The prelims are always just about qualifying for the next round as easily as possible. They went well, I like getting a prelim round in and usually feel like it primes my body well for the final.
Feeling any extraordinary pressure as the defending world champion?
My world championship title from 2017 is always going to be special to me, but I’ve had two years of racing since that championship. Every race feels like a clean slate and that I have to show up and bring my best.
Did the race go as planned?
I figured Beatrice [Chepkoech] would run hard right away, and knew that wouldn’t be my best chance for the podium. She started hard and I stayed in the chase pack just waiting for my time to kick. With 800m to go, I went to the front of the chase pack and accelerated. I had gapped the rest of the field with 500m to go, and sprinted for home for the last lap. I did gain on the leader, but didn’t have enough to catch her.
Happy, satisfied or disappointed with second place?
I’m very happy!
What now? Time to relax? More races? Next goal on the horizon?
Now is time to relax. I’ll have a few weeks of light training, vacations, time with family and sponsor commitments. Then, in November will start cranking up the training for the Olympic Trials in July!