Who is Emma Coburn? In-Depth Olympic Gold Medalist Profile

Emma Coburn is an American middle-distance runner who has stunned the world, particularly in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

She set a world record in the 3,000 meters steeplechase at the 2017 World Championships in London with a time of 9.02.58.

With this, she broke her own world record. As a result, she became the first American woman to win a gold medal in the steeplechase at the World Championships.

She previously set an American record of 9:07.63 in the 3000-meter steeplechase to earn bronze in the 2016 Olympic Games. This made her the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in that event.

And these are not the only achievements under Coburn’s belt, she’s continued to exceed all expectations. Which is why I thought it would be fun to get to know her. I love inspiring female athletes who show us what’s possible!!

In this article, we’ll get to know more about Emma Coburn including:

  • Her running history and accomplishments
  • What her diet plan is
  • Where she lives
  • Who she’s married to
  • Her pre-competition routine, and much more

So, let’s get to know who Emma Coburn is!

Who is Emma Coburn?

Emma Coburn is an American middle-distance runner who specializes in the 3000-meter steeplechase.

Coburn won the 3000 meters steeplechase in 9:02.58 seconds at the 2017 World Championships in London, breaking her own American record. This made her the first American woman to win a gold medal in the steeplechase at the World Championships.

The steeplechase is the longest Olympic track distance with obstacles on the course. Doesn’t that sound intense?! Dating back to Oxford University in 1850 the course can include hurdling water ditches, open ditches and fences.

How Old is Emma Coburn?

Emma is 31 years old. She was born on October 19, 1990.

How Much Does Emma Coburn Weigh?

Emma weighs 120 pounds (54 kilograms).

How Tall is Emma Coburn?

Emma is 5 feet 8 inches tall (173 cm).

Where Does Emma Coburn Live?

Coburn currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.

What are Emma Coburns Achievements?

Are you ready for this list? Let’s take a look at some of her current achievements.

World Finals 2011 – 3000 m st, 8th
20153000 m st, 5th
20173000 m st, Gold
20193000 m st, Silver
Olympic Finals 2012 – 3000 m st, 8th
20163000 m st, Bronze
Personal Best(s) Outdoor

1500 m: 4:04.40 (Memphis 2019)

3000m steeple: 9:02.35 (Doha 2019)


Mile: 4:29.86 (New York 2013)

3000 m: 8:41.16 (New York 2018)


Mile: 4:20.3 (New York 2018)

Which High School Did Emma Coburn Attend?

Coburn attended Crested Butte Community School in Colorado. She finished second in the 2008 Nike Outdoor Nationals Track and Field Championships 2000-meter steeplechase at 6:42 while still in high school.

emma coburn high school

Did Emma Coburn Run During College?

Yes, she did. Coburn is a six-time All-American and three-time NCAA champion (two steeplechase titles and one indoor mile title).

As a sophomore at the University of Colorado in 2010, Coburn won the Pac-12 steeplechase title and finished second in the NCAA finals.

As a junior in 2011, Coburn won the Pac-12 indoor 3000-meter title as well as the Pac-12 and NCAA outdoor 3000-meter steeplechase titles. Coburn won the 2011 USA outdoor steeplechase title and made the US steeplechase squad at the 2011 World Championships, placing 12th in the final.

Coburn placed 20th in the six-kilometer event at the NCAA national cross-country championships during her senior year. She was also Colorado’s second-place finisher, leading to an 11th-place team result.

With a run of 9:25.28 in her first steeplechase of the 2012 season, Coburn became the fourth-fastest American in history and the fastest American on US soil.

Coburn’s time was a 12-second personal record for the athlete, who redshirted the 2012 outdoor season at Colorado to focus on the Olympic Trials.

Coburn was named Pac-12 Track Athlete of the Week on April 30, 2013, after achieving the season’s best 3,000 steeplechase time.

Does Emma Coburn Have A Coach?

Yes. Currently she’s being coached by Joe Bosshard, who is also her husband. They now have a small training group here in Boulder, Colorado called Team Boss.

I’ve definitely passed their crew out on some runs…wait strike that, they have passed me! She’s clearly found the benefits of training with a group after her success in college.

In 2016, she left her longtime coach Mark Wetmore only seven weeks after she became the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in the steeplechase.

joe bosshard

How Did Emma Coburn Meet Joe Bosshard?

Coburn and Bosshard met as teenagers when their coach took them to the Florida State Relays.

At the time, Emma Coburn was a raw talent from Christed Butte who knew nothing about track and field. Back then running to her, in her own words, meant floating like a deer over mountain trails.

Joe Bosshard, on the other hand, was a kid from Wisconsin in the process of moving to Crested Butte to be coached by Coburn’s coach, Trent Sanderson.

They quickly became friends and started dating their senior year of high school. The couple tied the knot together on October 15, 2017.

How Many Miles Does Emma Coburn Run in a Week?

Coburn runs twice a day and generally runs between 85 to 95 miles a week. Like most elite runners her week tends to break down to around 80% easy effort and 20% hard effort.

Hard workouts include everything from hill sprints to track workouts with the team. One workout she shared included: Hard 2k followed by 8×400 and 2-4×150.

She also cross-trains and does weight training three times a week. Many of her workouts feature power bands, while others incorporate heavy weights and plyometrics.

A few examples:

  • Hex bar power squats with jump
  • Bulgarian split squats
  • Banded push up
  • Banded deadlifts and hip bridges
  • Front forearm plank with rotation to side plank
  • Single leg squats wearing a weighted vest and holding weights

However, like most professional athletes you’ll never see a full run down of her schedule.

emma coburn training

No one is immune to the occasional boredom that comes from maintaining such high mileage every week.

According to Coburn, one of her favorite ways to keep runs fun is to do it with someone else. She enjoys going on hour-long runs with teammates while chatting.

Does Emma Coburn Follow a Diet Plan?

It’s common for all elite distance runners to lose weight and become very lean during peak season due to intense training. It’s not a planned process, but rather develops spontaneously as a result of weightlifting, high mileage and HIIT workouts. Emma, ​​in fact, states that she never weighs herself.

“I’m not someone who stresses about my diet and I don’t count calories,” Coburn says.

“I don’t worry about that part of it as long as I’m feeling fueled and getting the right nutrients when I need them. I love cooking and I love running and I love eating – all these things are in a happy balance together.”

Coburn, like many runners, naturally loses weight and becomes quite lean during peak season and when the training intensity is high.

It’s not a deliberate process; It just happens as a result of running a lot of miles, lifting weights, and amping up the speed sessions. In fact, she rarely uses a scale for feedback.

Throughout the year, most athletes experience weight changes. Their off-duty weight is clearly different from their training or competition weight.

emma coburn diet

“You can be a strong, happy, successful runner and not have a negative relationship with the food you eat or a negative view on your diet,” Coburn says.

Coburn was asked about her food a lot and thus worked with a Registered Dietitian to create a cookbook called The Runner’s Kitchen. A few of the recipes she’s highlighted as favorites:

  • High protein pancakes
  • High protein spicy bolognese served with pasta
  • Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Pudding
  • Lots of focus on staying hydrated for recovery

Does Emma Coburn Have a Pre-Competition Routine?

Yes, Coburn does have a very specific pre-competition routine that she makes sure to follow every single time.

Here’s what she had to say during an interview with Fleet Fleet:

“I visualize my races when I’m in my hotel room before a competition. I go through every second of the race and key in on how I want to feel and think and what I want to see. It helps me to calm down and feel ‘in control’ of my situation.

I also have a pre-race routine. It’s the same routine I’ve had for years.

I think routine is a crucial recipe for race-day confidence.

Three hours before my race, I eat a banana with peanut butter and a bagel. I then have a conversation with Joe, my husband, and the coach. He’s the last person I talk to before every race. I also make sure I’m well hydrated and that I’ve done a proper warm-up.

In short, I control what I can control, and I let go of what I can’t.”

emma coburn team boss

Why Did Emma Coburn Get a DQ in the Tokyo Olympics?

Emma Coburn went into the women’s 3,000m steeplechase in the Tokyo Olympics hoping to bring home a medal for Team USA.

However, it wasn’t her day and she ended up finishing in 14th place registering a time of 9:41:50. It was later revealed that Coburn had received a DQ. Some of the Olympics coverage failed to explain what happened to Coburn, cutting away from the footage.

Later it was found that Coburn was actually disqualified for stepping on the rail that lines the inside of the track when she fell on the last lap.

Athletes aren’t permitted to step out of track limits during the race, which is why Emma received the DQ during the Tokyo Olympics. It’s a small moment that simply happens and as she said, doesn’t reflect what she’s capable of.

Inspirational Quotes from Emma Coburn

“I’m not naturally the most confident athlete. But if my coaches tell me that I can run a certain time, I believe it with no question. Then that’s it, that’s decided, that’s what I’m going to run.”
— Emma Coburn, Rio 2016

“What took me a while to really love running was getting over the fear of the individual side of it and learning to cope with that stress and those pressures of having your performance completely rely on you.”

“I think what was challenging with running is that it’s really difficult, it hurts, almost every day.”

“I do think though, there is a snowball effect. If you see the successes of people before you, you just want to build on them. And then when you’re gone, people want to build on your success. And it builds and builds.”

Ok, I think this was fun! Let me know if you’d like to see more runner profiles and who is at the top of your list??

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Most photos are from Emma Coburn’s Instagram page.

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