BUZUNESHA DEBA is about the same size as 5-2, 95-pound Jane Murage, winner of the women's Blue Cross Broad Street Run the previous 2 years.
Despite her diminutive size, Deba, 22, has enormous energy and strength. Yesterday, she won the 10-mile Blue Cross Broad Street Run in 55 minutes, 13 seconds. On Saturday, she won the Apple Blossom Festival 10K in Winchester, Va.
Asked to explain how she could sweep the weekend races, Deba replied, "I did [a lot of] hard training. I feel good."
At the Apple Blossom race, Alemteshay Misaganaw was runner-up. Same order yesterday. Misaganaw, 29, finished 9 seconds behind Deba.
Throughout the race Misaganaw stayed close to Deba, but the winner felt she could outkick her rival.
The top two women in the record Broad Street field of 30,000 both train in the New York City area. Deba, an Ethiopian, runs between 100 and 130 miles per week in Van Cortlandt Park and Tarrytown, N.Y.
Deba has been training in the United States for 8 years, As many Ethiopians do, she started running as a youngster in school.
Last year, Deba was runner-up to Murage on Broad Street in a faster time: 54:44. Deba's husband, Worku Beyi, was the third male finisher yesterday.
Murage did not run yesterday. According to Lisa Buster, the Royersford-based agent for several Kenyan runners, Murage was married last week in Kenya.
The overall winner yesterday was Alene Reta, also an Ethiopian. He led all the way and finished in 48:10, the slowest winning time in the past 4 years. The course record is 45:14, by Patrick Cheruiyot in 2007.
The heat and humidity affected the times.
As Reta approached the finish line in the Naval Business Center in South Philadelphia, he raised his arms and waved to the crowd.
Reta, 28, ran the first mile in 4:22. Halfway through the race, just before City Hall, he was clocked in 21:04.
Reta, who, in case you were wondering, also was the overall winner at the Apple Blossom race on Saturday, said he was comfortable not being challenged.
"I know all the [leading runners]," he said. "When they said it was too hot [to pursue the lead], I said, 'I'll go my own pace.'
"Nobody was pushing me. I looked around, and there was nobody. If somebody's pushing me, I run better times."
Reta and Deba each collected $1,500.
Reta was familiar with the Broad Street course: Last year he finished third, in 47:57.
Reta has been a prominent, and controversial, runner for several years. Last month, he won a marathon in Santiago, Chile, in 2 hours, 12 minutes. He's a former winner of the Peachtree Road Race 10K.
In some previous races he was known as Alene Emere. In 2001, he was suspended for 2 years by the Japan Association of Athletics after testing positive for steroids after races in that country. During the suspension, Reta could not race anywhere in the world.
Asked yesterday about using a different name, Reta replied, "It's not true." He said his full name is Alene Emere Reta.
All we know is, yesterday Alene Reta won Broad Street.
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