Editor's Note: MileSplit LA wanted to give athletes an opportunity to tell their own in their own words. Here is Houma Christian's Emma Bourg on her journey in running. Are you an athlete who would you like to share your story with the MileSplit LA audience? Send essay to email@example.com.
Although I am known as the fastest girl in the state, getting to where I am now required a lot of ups and downs as well as the grace of God. I've always had a passion for running. I got into running very early and was quite successful at a young age, but after that I hit a wall that I couldn't break through, and it wasn't until my junior and senior year that I was finally able to find my passion for the sport again.
Growing up, I always watched my parents run races and train every day. My dad did marathons and then my mom picked up triathlons and marathons as well. I tried out several sports but never really saw a future in any of them. My family ran a business, Split Second LLC, where we would time 5k road races for nonprofit organizations every weekend. From the age of about 5 years old, I would always participate in the fun runs they had for the kids. Then when I was in fourth grade, the Covenant Christian Academy coach, Tex Martin, asked me to join the JV cross country team. That's when running really sparked something in me. Coach Tex pushed me and encouraged me to always do my best. I learned a lot under his coaching and I am forever grateful to have had the experience I did. By the time I was in seventh grade, we had a team of seven girls who were dedicated to running. We each worked very hard and toward the end of our season we were ranked number two in the 1A Division. We had a very high chance of being a State Champion team. I ran a 19:20.38 for my season-best. Then, to cap it all off, I won the 1A State Championship and my team took second place at the 2017 state competition. Our team had a promising future, and we were predicted to be one of the best teams by the end of our high school career. That is, until everything suddenly changed.
Toward the end of my seventh-grade year, I no longer had a coach and my parents were talking about sending me and my sister to a new school. The following summer was a rough one. I had lost a lot of motivation and went into my 8th grade cross country season at Houma Christian School with very low self-confidence. Everything around me was changing and to top it off my body was changing as well. I was still learning how to fuel my body properly and take care of myself while being a young female runner. I also wasn't depending on God for strength and kept trying to do everything in my own strength. My 9th and the first half of 10th grade year wasn't much different. I realized my body was drained and running became a chore. I felt myself slowly falling out of love with the sport of running. I spent a lot of time constantly striving to find my old self again instead of embracing the young woman I was becoming. Then later during the 2021 track season, I finished fourth in the 1600 meter at the state meet with a 5:45.
During the next summer, I started training with my teammate, Antonio Delgado. He was training under Braedon Methvin and saw that I was using Antonio's workouts. He saw something in me and offered to start creating my own training plan. From there, I had a greater drive to reach my goals than I had ever had before. I enjoyed waking up at 6am to go run and it became fun again. Antonio and Braedon both had a big part in helping me find the spark I once had. Because of the hurricane, last year's cross country season was full of a lot of unknown. Although it was a crazy season, I finished sixth in the 2A state meet with the time of 20:24. Then during track season I started with a 5:37 1600m and got all the way down to a 5:06.
After a long summer of hard training and conditioning, it all paid off this cross country season. I've spent a lot of time doing workouts with my dad because I've never really had a training partner. He has always been there for me over the years, and I'm so appreciative to have someone who never gave up on me even when I failed. This season has meant more to me than it may seem. I had not broken 20 minutes for 3 miles in five years. When I finally PRed for the first time in a while, it was so amazing. I opened my last cross country season up with an 18:22 at the Eddie Cole Classic. The first half of my season had been very stressful because I was still deciding on a college. Then after a lot of prayer, I committed to the University of New Orleans. After I committed, the next week I ran at the St. Joseph's Invitational and won with a time of 17:21. Then at the state meet I was the Division IV State Champion and had the fastest time of the day with a 17:57. It was such a dream and something I never thought I could do. I always believed I was never good enough to be number one in the state, but I accomplished this with the strength God had given me. Over the years I have learned that my relationship with God reflects in all aspects of my life. He has been so good to me and every race He shows up even when I don't feel equipped. He continues to give me strength each race and I now know that giving Him Glory is what matters most.
It has been so rewarding to be used by God in so many ways. After 8 years of running competitively, I have learned that all the storms I have experienced were all for a purpose and everything has fallen into place. I'm excited to see what He has in store for me in the future and I can't wait to start my D1 running career soon.