Coming into a race lacking confidence is a courageous thing to admit. But the gentle Ethiopian Buzunesh Deba, who proudly calls herself a New Yorker from the Bronx, says she’ll get that confidence back when she starts pounding the pavement on Sunday.
“I’ve been away from competition for a year now,” Deba told journalists on Friday. “My health is back; however, because I’ve been away that long I have lost a little bit of confidence.”
After competing just once in all of 2012, at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half-Marathon in September (where she finished eighth in 1:14:55), Deba said that she’s coming into Sunday’s ING New York City Marathon with two-and-a-half months of injury-free miles on her legs, and that the right-ankle fracture she suffered just before the Boston Marathon is now healed and she’s 100 percent.
Deba took the field and the city by storm last year when she ran a 2:23:19 personal best and became the fastest New York resident in the history of the race on way to finishing second, just four seconds behind compatriot Firehiwot Dado.
Deba’s typical training route crosses the five boroughs and includes a favorite 30-mile trek around the perimeter of Manhattan. And after three ING New York City Marathon races, she says of the course, she loves everything. It’s a pride she wants others to recognize in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
“It’s good that they didn’t cancel the race because it serves as a memorial for those who lost their lives or were injured,” Deba said Friday. “It also helps give people a chance to raise funds to help.”
Photo by Kristine Smith
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg