BUZUNESHA DEBA, TAKES TOP WOMEN’S
HONORS AT BROAD STREET.
CLAY SHAW PHOTO

Deba and Reta Win Back-to-Back Races;
From Blossoms to Broad Street

BY DAVID BLOCK

PHILADELPHIA, PA--Imagine winning two road races two days in a row. The idea can be quite unfathomable for the average runner, who could not even imagine competing in two races in a week. However, Buzunesha Deba of Ethiopia, who trains in New York, is anything but the average runner. She won back-to-back road races. On Saturday May 1, she won the Apple Blossom Festival Valley Health 10K in Winchester, VA in 34:27 to set a new course record. Then on Sunday May 2, she won the Blue Cross Broad Street Run (10 miles), posting 55:13.

When asked how she could win two road races, two days in a row, Deba answered: “I run 100 to 130 miles a week. I do a lot of speed workouts and long training runs.” She often trains in Van Cortlandt Park and in Tarrytown, N.Y.

At Apple Blossom and at Broad Street, the second woman finisher was Alemteshay Misaganaw, 34:36 and 55:22. More coincidental, in both races, Misaganaw trailed Deba by nine seconds.

After beating her at Apple Blossom, Deba did not fear retribution.

“I was feeling good (at Broad Street),” said Deba, “but my legs were tight.”

 

RETA WINS BROAD STREET!
KAREN MITCHELL PHOTO
Alene Reta won the exact doubleheader as Deba. At Apple Blossom, he clocked 29:13 and at Broad Street, he finished in 48:10. The Broad Street runner-up was Ketema Nigusse 48:34.

Before the first mile, Nigusse stayed with him, but after Reta clocked 4:22, Nigusse dropped back. Reta ran the rest of the race alone and unchallenged.

“No one was in the front,” said Reta. “I wanted to run a better time. My strategy was to run a fast time, but no one was with me.” Another hindrance was the heat and the humidity. “It was humid,” said Reta, who hit every sprinkler on the racecourse.

Controversy has surrounded Reta. According to Lisa Buster, the Royersford, PA based agent for elite runners, Reta often ran under the pseudonym Elene Emere. She said that certain races that require elite runners to test for drugs have banned him for using drugs to enhance his performances.


 

MASTERS STARS, FROM LEFT: STEVE KARTALIA (2ND), DOREEN
MCCOUBRIE (1ST), AND MATT SANDERCOCK (1ST).
CLAY SHAW PHOTO
According to the Philadelphia Daily News, in 2001, Reta was suspended for two years by the Japan Association of Athletics after testing positive for steroids. During the suspension, Reta could not race anywhere in the world.
Asked about using a pseudonym, Reta calmly answered: “It's not true. My full name is Alene Emere Reta.”
Buster hopes that the Blue Cross Broad Street Run will require elite runners to be tested for drugs and then prohibit those athletes who test positive from competing.