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Pre Classic to feature 6 of the fastest women in steeplechase history

The Pre Classic is an extremely stacked field

The Prefontaine Classic will feature six of the top eight female steeplechasers of all time. The headliners are defending world champion Emma Coburn, world-record holder Beatrice Chepkoech and American-record holder Courtney Frerichs.

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Coburn is the former American record-holder in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase and the 2017 world champion. She lost her record to Courtney Frerichs, who ran a 9:00.85 at the Monaco Diamond League in 2018 where Chepkoech stunned the running world by finishing in 8:44.32 and shattering the world record.


Coburn is a long-time staple on the international steeplechase scene. Even though she’s only 28, Coburn has been running the steeplechase for nearly a decade. Coburn punched through to the elite level in 2014, when she ran a 9:11.42 in Glasgow.

After the 5th Avenue Mile, her final race of the 2018 season, Coburn shared her thoughts on the then newly-set women’s world record in the steeplechase: “I shouldn’t comment because there’s no proof to prove otherwise, but it’s important to look at trends and history of performances, and where there’s big outliers, we might need to pause.”

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The two women will face off on June 30 at the meet’s temporary home at Stanford University’s track while Hayward Field is under construction. The 2019 Pre Classic could see an American woman go under 9:00.00 for the first time ever.

The top six seed times:

Beatrice Chepkoech (Kenya) 8:44.32
Celliphine Chepteek Chespol (Kenya) 8:58.78
Norah Jeruto (Kenya) 8:59.62
Hyvin Kiyeng (Kenya) 9:00.01
Courtney Frerichs (USA) 9:00.85
Emma Coburn (USA) 9:02.58