Buffalo Soldier: Exclusive Interview With Emma Coburn

Competitor.com: Congrats on a fantastic month. An NCAA Nationals-USA Nationals double is tough in any event and especially so in the distance races. How far in advance did you decide to run both?

Emma Coburn: It was my goal throughout the whole season, since I’d been having so much success with the event. I got the IAAF “A” standard at the Peyton Jordan meet, so I didn’t have to worry about times after that.

Coburn is not the first University of Colorado steeplechaser to pull off the NCAA/USA Championships double. Photo: Larry Lawson

Competitor.com: Did a former teammate, Jenny Simpson, pulling off the double steeple win give you confidence in your chances of doing the same?

EC: I really hadn’t thought about that, about what people had done in the past. I knew that I had won at NCAAs and knew based on how the season had gone that I was in top-three shape at USAs.

Competitor.com: Was your pre-race strategy different at USAs, where you weren’t the prohibitive favorite like you were at NCAAs?

EC: It was. At NCAAs my plan was to focus on a certain pace, because I knew that if I held it the pack would eventually fall off. So I ran from the front. At USAs, I wasn’t actually looking to win, I just wanted to be in the top three and make the World Championships team. So I wanted to stay near the front and wasn’t concerned about the pace. After the first couple of laps were really slow, I did make a move to keep the pace honest, but that was it.

Competitor.com: In high school you ran 5:11 for 1600 meters and 11:32 in the 3200, but were fourth and second at the national championship meet in the 2000-meter steeple. Did you come to C.U. with the idea that the steeplechase would be your primary event?

EC: I knew it would definitely be my best event, but since it’s only run in the spring I knew had to become better at everything else as well.

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