With fewer than 300 days to go before the Tokyo Olympics, Boulder’s Emma Coburn now has a medal of every color at major world track and field events after claiming silver Monday in the steeplechase at the biennial world championships in Doha, Qatar.
A graduate of the University of Colorado who grew up in Crested Butte, Coburn took gold at the 2017 world championships and bronze in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
World record holder Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya claimed the gold medal Monday in eight minutes, 57.84 seconds to break the championships record Coburn set two years ago in London. Coburn finished in 9:02.35 to set a personal record in the 8,000-meter event that unfolds with a series of barrier jumps.
“The last two championships I’ve run a personal best in the final and come away with a medal,” Coburn said in a trackside interview telecast by the Olympic Channel. “Actually the last three — Olympics, London champs and then this — I did a PR in all of those finals. I like how my body feels in these races and I’m really proud of tonight’s effort.”
Chepkoech took a massive lead early and maintained it for most of the race, although Coburn did reduce the margin on the last two laps.
“That’s how I thought it would go,” said Coburn, who turns 29 in October. “That’s kind of how she’s been running all of the Diamond Leagues. The only race she’s lost in the last couple of years is when she ran with the pack and then got out-kicked, so I expected that from her. I was really happy that Hyvin Kiyeng (another Kenyan) pushed the pace for the chase pack. I vowed to do no work until I was ready to make a move. With about 800 to go I accelerated and just didn’t look back.”
Gesa Felicitas Krause of Germany took the bronze medal in 9:03.3. The other American in the race, Courtney Frerichs of Portland, Ore, finished sixth.