Emma Coburn advances to steeplechase finals at IAAF World Championships

Former University of Colorado standout Emma Coburn advanced to the finals of the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2019 IAAF World Championships on Friday.

The defending world champion finished second in the first of three heats, crossing in 9 minutes, 23.40 seconds. Peruth Chematai took first, finishing in 9:21.98. The top three in each heat automatically advance to the finals, as well as the next six fastest times. Coburn will be looking to defend her win from the 2017 championships.

“It’s really loud in this stadium,” Coburn said. “I am excited to race on Monday and I know I have a big effort on me to try to land on the podium again, but I’m ready.”

The Crested Butte, Colo. native ran a very smart race and was no lower than sixth at any point. The pace was not too quick to start, which kept the pack very close through the first kilometer. Coburn was second midway through the race, and along with Chemutai and Celliphine Chepteek Chespol, the trio started to pull away from the field. Coburn was in the lead going into the final water jump, but Chematai pulled ahead ever so slightly before the final barrier. With no medals on the line, Coburn cruised to the second-place finish.

“At 2-kilometers, I saw that we still had a pretty big group, so I thought we should step on the gas a little bit and bring it down to three,” Coburn said. “It’s sometimes hard to tell on the jumbotron how much room you have. We definitely could have eased up a bit, but I’m glad I’m through. It felt good.”

The finals are scheduled for Monday at 12:50 p.m. MT and will be televised live on the Olympic Channel.