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Courtney Frerichs On Breaking the Steeplechase American Record, 8:55 Goals, Finding Her Speed

Courtney Frerichs of the Bowerman Track Club joins the CITIUS MAG Podcast just days after setting the American record in the steeplechase at the Monaco Diamond League meet. She ran 9:00.85 to break Emma Coburn’s previous American record of 9:02.58. Frerichs was second in the race behind Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech, who broke Ruth Jebet’s world record of 8:52.78 by eight seconds with a 8:44.32 victory.

Frerichs is now the sixth-fastest woman of all-time in the steeplechase and she’s not done yet. She shares some insight into her lofty goals for the Brussels Diamond League and the next two years of her career.

We’ve transcribed some of the best excerpts of the podcast but it’s certainly one of our best episodes yet.

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Her thoughts on Beatrice Chepkoech’s 8:44.32 world record in the steeplechase:

(Note: Just before the Monaco race, it was confirmed that Jebet was facing a suspension after testing positive for EPO)

“I can definitely see why the skepticism is there and why people could easily fall into being cynical. Because, like Emma has said, I truly believe 8:52 was possible. Honestly, if i’m being completely honest, I thought I was going to run 8:55 at Monaco. I feel like i’m actually far fitter than nine-flat. I think that I could’ve been much more aggressive and done a lot of things different and so I’m really looking forward to another chance. That being said – and I don’t feel that I’m even close to being in the prime of my career. And so in my head…running under 8:50, if all things go really well over the next four to six years, would be in the realm of possibility. I really think running 8:44 is very possible. Beatrice is a phenomenal flat runner. She’s run like 14:20-something for the 5K. She’s a beautiful runner to watch. As somebody who is striving to do some of the things that she’s now done and believes that it’s really possible, I really do want to believe that we just witnessed greatness.”

On thinking big with her goals 

“We try not to I guess talk about time or obsess about these things too much because at the end of the day, especially for myself, watching the clock is not good. I need to go out and just race. That’s actually one of the best pieces of advice that Joe Franklin ever gave me. Going into 2016, early in that outdoor track season, I was really becoming obsessed with breaking the collegiate record and getting so obsessed with time. He pulled me aside and said, ‘Courtney, if you out and focus on winning races, the times will come.’ He was right. I didn’t look at the clock whatsoever when I set the collegiate record and ended up solo’ing it. That’s kind of the mindset that I’ve been taking with. I think Jerry has pretty much that approach too. He wants us to go out there and be competitive and just be the best that we can be. But, he isn’t afraid to kind of put these little nuggets in our head of ‘Oh, I think this is possible.’ Going into Monaco, we both agreed the goal was to set the American record. Whatever time that meant, if it was 9:02.2 and that was the American record, then we were going to be happy. But now that that goal has been set, we’re having discussions about what I could’ve done better and the fact that I got a little too comfortable in the middle. That has me excited as we’ve been transitioning into the next block of training. It’s because Jerry gets very excited whenever you have a good workout and you can start talking about these big goals. That’s kind of what our group is all about. We don’t have that mindset of just making teams anymore. We want to do things that no one has ever done and it’s really fun whenever everyone is on that same page and aspiring to that in their own events.”


If you enjoy this podcast, check out the other shows on the CITIUS MAG Podcast Network including the 1609 Podcast, Price of a Mile, Running Things Considered and more.

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