Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Emma Coburn sets state record in mile

Raises money for Sachs Foundation

by Than Acuff

While COVID-19 has sidelined many athletic pursuits the past two months, it has done little to slow down Emma Coburn, her husband, Joe Bosshard, and their running team, Team Boss. So much so that Coburn just finished up a training block setting the new state record for women in the mile, posting a time of 4:32.7 while raising $30,000 for a Colorado non-profit.

Once Team Boss got past the initial shock of a season of races cancelled, Coburn and Bosshard rallied their team to arguably the best training area in the nation, the Gunnison Valley. The team spent the past five weeks here running in and around the valley as they searched for any potential races for Emma and their athletes.

“We got lots of running in Crested Butte and Gunnison,” says Coburn. “Each one of us was working on amplifying strength and focused on getting well-rounded, excellent training.”

Still, there remained the need for competition to keep the athletes focused, but the search for any semblance of competition proved fruitless.

“Joe was looking for race opportunities for us and it just wasn’t working out,” says Coburn.

That’s when Team Boss took matters into their own hands and partnered with Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction to host a race in an attempt to break the state record in the mile for both men and women.

“We were looking for a good option at attempting to break the Colorado mile record,” says Coburn.

Colorado Mesa University was putting the finishing touches on a brand new track facility and Team Boss and the university got together to put on a race on Saturday, June 27. But, Coburn and Bosshard wanted to do more than just host a race and break a record.

“We could have gone down the route of just having a DIY race and time trial but we wanted our race to feel bigger and more important,” explains Coburn.

That’s when they came up with the idea to turn it into a fundraising event as well, and after some research, they landed on the Sachs Foundation of Colorado Springs. The primary mission of the Sachs Foundation is to provide educational opportunities to Black and African American residents of Colorado who meet certain academic and financial criteria.

“It just felt like the right course, given what has been going on recently,” says Coburn. “Giving locally and in the state of Colorado has always been important to me.”

With the track completed the day before the race date and all attendees following COVID-19 protocols, six women and one pacer lined up for a shot at the record. Ultimately, Team Boss athlete Cory McGee edged out in front of the pack at the 1,000-meter mark and maintained her lead with 600 meters remaining stepping up the pace but Coburn matched her stride, eventually stepping out in front in the final 100 meters to take the win and set the new state record time for women in the mile of 4:32.7.

Four men from Team Boss also took a shot at the men’s record, with Morgan McDonald coming close but falling just shy despite a 55-second final lap.

But the biggest win was the total money raised for the Sachs Foundation as the runners shattered that mark as well. Team Boss set an initial goal to raise $20,000 but ended up bringing in $30,134 in donations.

Training continues for the athletes now through July and August with the team back in Boulder and Coburn and Bosshard staying here in Crested Butte. Meanwhile, the search for more races continues.

“It’s really hard finding venues that will help host a race,” says Coburn. “We hope to race two or three more times this summer before we call it a season.”

As for the Olympics, that also remains in flux. Currently, the Summer Olympic Games scheduled for the end of July 2020 are postponed to the end of July 2021 and that’s what Coburn is planning on.

“Everything for us is full steam ahead like it will happen in 2021,” says Coburn. “My hope is that in July 2021 I will be in Tokyo racing. If it can’t happen then, the games will be cancelled and that will be a big heartbreak.”

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