Emma Coburn on Juggling the Life of an Athlete, Event Organizer, and Bride-to-Be

Emma Coburn on Juggling the Life of an Athlete, Event Organizer, and Bride-to-Be


Months of training, sweat, great workouts, disappointments, stresses, excitement, travel, and races—it’s almost done.

But my year is young.

Although racing is nearly done after I finish my season at the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile on September 10, I still have a few things to look forward to. I am balancing the life of an athlete, event organizer, and bride. I’m not sure which role suits me best, but I know I couldn’t do it without the help of Joe, who balances the roles of coach, co-event organizer, and groom. 

In our athlete-coach dynamic, we are lucky to have a great addition to our team in Olympian Aisha Praught Leer.

Coach Joe sets the plan, and we follow. He is thoughtful, deliberate, and patient.

Aisha and I work. We trust the training. He shows up every day ready to advise and encourage. We show up, sweat, and try our best.

Then we race.

We ran national records and personal bests this season. Joe’s first year as a coach—and my first year as his athlete—was a success, ending with a World Championship gold in London.

This year, we have added roles as event organizers. We are starting a race in my hometown, Crested Butte, CO, on September 30. The race, called Emma Coburn’s Elk Run 5K, is a road race with proceeds going to local cancer support charity, Living Journeys. Joe and I balance the tasks of permits, sponsors, citizen registration, elite entries, banners, and even portable toilets. We balance trying to start an event from the ground up. This job is a totally new challenge. We are taking on responsibilities that are completely foreign to us. We take on this extra work because it is something we so deeply believe in. We want to give back to the community that built me, to the community that has supported me and cared for me through every stage of my career. Planning this race is a ton of work, but when the work is going to something that we are passionate about, the work comes easy.

Paradise is calling. Let's go! #ElkRun5k September 30th 5k road race in paradise ⛰⛰⛰ sign up today!

A post shared by Emma Coburn's Elk Run 5k (@elkrun5k) on

In October, after nearly 10 years of dating, Joe and I will become husband and wife. Honestly, the wedding planning has been of lowest priority all year. We know we will be married, we know it will be a wonderful experience, and we know there will be a great party with friends and family. But I haven’t stressed about place cards and color schemes.

I can’t wait to marry Joe. I’m most looking forward to the marriage, not just the wedding. We are getting married in Kauai, my second-favorite place in the world after Crested Butte.

The World Championships were August 11, the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile is September 10, the Elk Run 5K is September 30, and the wedding is October 14.

Four things that I want to give my best to. Two months to get all of them in.

This might seem like a lot on my plate, but all of these things make me happy.

Running fulfills and fuels me. Giving back makes my heart full. Getting married to Joe is the best of all.

2017 will be a year to remember.

Sign up today for the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile and help warm up the course for Emma on Sunday, September 10! If you're out of town, catch the pro races live on NBC from 1:30 to 2:00 p.m. EST.

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