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Buffalo Soldier: Exclusive Interview With Emma Coburn

  • By Mario Fraioli
  • Published Jul. 5, 2011
  • Updated Mar. 15, 2012 at 5:10 PM UTC

The Colorado senior-to-be is continuing a strong steeplechase tradition.

Interview by: Kevin Beck

Emma Coburn has steadily developed from a modest high-school runner into a national -class steeplechaser in less than three years. Photo: Mike Scott

Last month, University of Colorado senior-to-be Emma Coburn put an exclamation point on a superb track season by winning the 3,000-meter steeplechase at both the Division I NCAA Championships and the USA National Championships. The latter performance earned the Colorado native a trip to the IAAF World Track and Field Championships, which will be held in Daegu, South Korea beginning on August 27. She ran her personal best time, 9:40.51, on May 1 at the Payton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto, California, winning by over eight seconds.

Coburn is 2008 graduate of Crested Butte High School, where she was an eight-time 2A state champion, set school records in every event from 400m to 3200m and also high-jumped 5′ 1″. Nevertheless, she is another in a long line of Coloradans who came to C.U. with comparatively modest credentials — she never broke 11:30 for two miles as a prep — and steadily developed into a national-class athlete. Last fall, she finished 53rd at the NCAA D-I Cross-Country Championships and was eighth in the mile at the NCAA D-I Indoor Champs in March in 4:36.08, the second-fastest time ever by a member of the Lady Buffs.

Competitor.com caught up with Coburn while she was taking a short training break back home in Crested Butte.

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Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli is a senior editor at Competitor magazine. A cross-country All-American at Stonehill College in 2003, he now coaches the Prado Women's Racing Team in San Diego and was the men's marathon coach for Costa Rica's 2012 Olympic team. His first book, The Official Rock 'n' Roll Guide To Marathon & Half-Marathon Training (VeloPress, 2013) is available in bookstores, running shops and online.

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