DEBA POISED FOR VICTORY IN FIRST BOSTON MARATHON
By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2014 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(Used with permission)
BOSTON (18-Apr) -- She has twice finished second at the TCS New York
City Marathon --the world's largest-- but Buzunesh Deba has never
attempted the uniquely hilly 42.195 kilometers from Hopkinton to
Boston.Deba, an Ethiopian who lives in the Bronx section of New York
City, said she is completely prepared for Monday's 118th Boston Marathon
after a four-month training stint in Albuquerque which included an incredible
"I was in Albuquerque four months for training and it was good," she told Race Results Weekly in
English. "I'm in good shape."
Deba, 26, sits on the cusp of greatness. Under the coaching of her husband Worku Beyi, she has quickly
moved up from the sport's second tier --in 2010 she ran five marathons because she needed the money-- to
become a player in the World Marathon Majors, the premier league of global marathons of which Boston is
Deba earned an invitation to New York in 2011 after winning both the Los Angeles and San Diego Marathons
earlier that year. Surprising nearly everyone, she landed a second place finish after battling with
compatriot Firehiwot Dado in the final kilometers, losing by only four seconds in a personal best
2:23:19. Two years later, she nearly stole the New York title by breaking away from the field early
and building up a massive 3 minute and 23-second lead at the half way mark. She was eventually
overtaken by Kenya's Priscah Jeptoo, unable to keep up after feeling sick. She finished second in
"I tried to, but I was sick badly, a cramp," Deba said after the New York race last year.
But her second podium finish in New York caught the attention of Mary Kate Shea, the elite athletes
coordinator for the Boston Marathon who invited Deba to Boston for the first time. Deba said she was
determined to make the most of the opportunity. She's particularly excited by Boston's challenging
course, and did extensive hill training in Albuquerque to get ready.
"I like hills, up and down," she said. "I'm not worried about the course. Maybe I'm worried about
wind. Sometimes, people told me, sometimes windy, sometimes hot. We'll see."
To make sure she could be competitive with Kenyan athletes like Rita Jeptoo and Sharon Cherop, both
previous Boston champions who are again entered this year, Beyi had his wife do an incredible long run
of 26 miles (42 kilometers) at almost race pace. Most coaches would see that workout as too long, too
fast, and too risky.
"After New York City Half Marathon (on March 16th where she finished second), she's in great shape,"
Beyi told Race Results Weekly. "She did 26 miles on the road. She did the same thing she does, up and
down here. She did 2:28:32."
Beyi had to repeat the time for a reporter because he thought he had misheard it.
"Two twenty-eight, thirty-two," he repeated, a time which would win many high level marathons.
Beyi explained that prior to last November's New York City Marathon, Deba did a similar workout: 26
miles with 400-meter repeats at the end in two hours, 29 minutes.
"This one is very unique to do 2:28 at altitude," he said smiling at his wife, who looked a little
Deba is only ranked ninth on time in the Boston field. But, grinding out races in the second tier
several years earlier have made her tough, and she's learned how to run for victory. She's won more
marathons (8) and made more podiums (11) than any other woman in the field. She said that she'll push
the pace on Monday if the race goes out slowly like it did here last year.
"I'm focusing on my training," Deba said. "Maybe if the pace is slow, I'm going to do it myself."
Beyi showed a reporter photos of several homes they were looking to buy. The couple knows that a win
here on Monday would be completely life-changing.
"You know, everybody is so strong," Deba said seriously. "It's a tough race, I think, Boston. "I'm
focusing to win."
PHOTO: Buzunesh Deba before the 2014 Boston Marathon