Q&A with 2017 World Championship Gold Medalist Emma Coburn

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We know! We can’t believe it either! With all of the traveling and amazing racing that Emma Coburn is doing, we are overjoyed that she took the time to tell us more about her gold medal race and the training that it took to get there. How cool is she?

Before you read more about this stellar individual, if you have not seen footage of the World Championship Women’s Steeplechase final from last Friday, find it immediately. Many are calling it the most exciting race of the 2017 World Championships, and we’re inclined to agree.


Photo: Victah Sailer@PhotoRun – www.photorun.NET

What was your plan going into the Steeplechase final last Friday?

The plan was to just stick with the Kenyan born athletes as long as I could. My last kilometer is always my fastest, and has been faster than the Africans over the last 2 seasons, so I knew if I could stick with them through 2,000m, I would be in good shape for the final kilometer. Joe [Bosshard]* also told me to make sure I have a really strong last water jump. As we approached the last few laps of the race, I was feeling really strong and controlled and felt like I could accelerate. But I waited. I wanted to wait until the last water jump. When I did make my move coming into the final water jump, I took the lead after the water and didn’t look back!

*Emma’s fiancé and coach

How did you celebrate post-race?

After media and drug testing, it was midnight. I had dinner and champagne with my parents and Joe, then home to bed. It’s so much sweeter celebrating the high moments with people who have been by your side since day 1!

What did you eat for breakfast this morning?

Toast with peanut butter and honey. I have that every morning before my run. Then I have a big breakfast after I’m done with my run.

When you’re at home in Boulder, where do you like to run and what do you like about training there?

When training in Boulder I like to run at the Bobolink Trail or the Lobo Trail. Both are flat gravel paths and are great for easy runs on the days between hard workouts. I feel like I get good recovery while running there. 

Is there a specific shoe that you wear for workouts?

I have been wearing the Hanzo flats a lot in workouts. I’ll wear them in tempos and long repeats (2k or 1 mile repeats) or I’ll wear them for the first half of speed sessions (1k and down). 

Shop the New Balance Hanzo S: Men’s | Women’s

What is your favorite shoe for daily training?

I wear the 880’s* a lot. They are neutral and cushioned and are my go-to training shoe for easy days. They are perfect for recovery runs.  

*The New Balance 880 is not available for online sales. Similar models include the New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay v3 and the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v7.*

What is your favorite shoe for racing?

I race in the LD5000’s. They are so comfortable!

Shop all New Balance Spikes: Men’s | Women’s

Do you have a favorite track that you like to race on?

I really like racing at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. There is always a great crowd and typically, we run fast there. My new favorite track might be the London Queen Victoria stadium! It’s fast, has 60,000 screaming spectators and is where I won my world championship gold :)

What do you do when you aren’t training?

Training takes up so much time and effort, so when I’m not training I need to focus on recovery. I spend a lot of time on the couch watching Netflix and Bravo or napping. I like to cook and bake a lot. I love making cakes. That’s my favorite. 

Is there any advice you can share with someone who is just getting started as a steeplechaser?

Train hard. Be consistent in the weight room and with drills. Be fearless on the water jump (it’s so fun!). 


Thank you so much for taking the time Emma! We cannot fully express how exciting it was to watch you race at Worlds, and we wish you the best of luck with all your coming races!

Shop all New Balance Running Shoes: Men’s | Women’s 


Will has been running competitively since high school, and is currently running with the HOKA Aggies, a post-collegiate club here on the central coast of California. With a preference for the humorous and the verbose, he enjoys playing the wordsmith almost as much as his daily runs.

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