By David Monti
(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
June 9, 2013
Emma Coburn, whose collegiate career with the University of Colorado ended yesterday with her second NCAA steeplechase title, has signed a professional sponsorship agreement with Boston-based New Balance, both the athlete and the company said today.
“I am thrilled to join Team New Balance as I start my professional career,” Coburn said through a statement provided by the company. “New Balance has a long-standing history as an excellent running company and I am honored to become a part of it. I look forward to a bright future and partnership with Team New Balance.”
Coburn, 22, an Olympian from Crested Butte, Colo., is presently America’s number one female steeplechaser by any measure. She won the national open title in 2011, the Olympic Trials in 2012, and finished ninth in the Olympic Games in London last August where she ran her personal best 9:23.54. She was America’s fastest steeplechaser in 2011, 2012, and so far in 2013. Coburn also won the NCAA indoor title in the mile last March making her a three-time NCAA champion.
Like her training partner Jenny Simpson, the reigning world 1500m champion and still the USA record holder for the steeplechase, Coburn is coached by the University of Colorado’s Mark Wetmore and his wife Heather Burroughs. Both athletes will continue to live and train in Boulder. Simpson is also sponsored by New Balance.
Under Wetmore, Coburn was allowed to skip her collegiate season in 2012 so she could focus on qualifying for the Olympic Team. She had the opportunity to turn pro then, but steadfastly refused so that she could come back as a fifth year student in 2012/2013 and complete her scholarship obligation.
Coburn decided not to hire an agent, a somewhat unusual move for an athlete at her level.
“I will not be using an agent at this point,” she said in an e-mail message to Race Results Weekly today, adding that Coach Wetmore would arrange her competitions for her.
Coburn said her first race as a pro will come at the USA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines which open on June 20th. In that meet Coburn will try to qualify for her second IAAF World Championships; she competed previously in Daegu in 2011 where she placed 12th in the final.