2013 ING NYC Marathon: Buzunesh Deba plays her hand, and Priscah Jeptoo calls it, winning both NYC title and World Marathon Majors, by Larry Eder

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Priscah Jeptoo, photo by Pretty Sporty Photos, Cheryl Treworgy


Buzunesh Deba gambled all and took second, for the second time in a row. Priscah Jeptoo gave up the comfort of the chasing pack and gambled on her finish, and caught Deba just past 25 miles! 

What a race! 
Buzunesh Deba plays her hand, and, Priscah Jeptoo calls it,  
by Larry Eder


The New York Women's race was a real game of cat and mouse. 


When one toils for two years, focused on a goal, time must stop. 

Consider Buzunesh Deba, the Ethiopian  marathoner who lives and trains in Brooklyn. In 2011, Buzunesh took second, and she became a local sensation. 

In 2011, Buzunesh Deba and Firehiwot Daba came from behind and blasted the second half, winning in the last, exciting miles. 

In 2013, Buzunesh Deba and her training partner, Tigist Tufa Demisse, a 2:40.45 marathoner, took the lead off the start and hit the 5k in 17:34. " They are 90 seconds ahead at the 5k, " noted the television commentators. 

Now, the conditions were cool, winds were gusty, reportedly hitting 17-20 miles an hour at some times. The cool, windy conditions kept the chasing pack, of thirty-four at the early stages, way back, wondering what Buzunesh was doing. 

But Buzunesh was not running insane: she was running as she had planned. " Deba is running 5.25-5.30 pace, she looks great, and she is running a reasonable pace" noted commentator, former Olympic Trials champ Carrie Tollefson. 

Buzunesh Deba and Tigist Tufa Demisse ran together, hitting the 5k in 17.34, the 10k in 34.44 and the 15k in 51.43. By the 15k, the dynamic duo had two minutes and fifty one seconds on the chasing pack. 

In the chasing pack were Priscah Jeptoo, Olympic silver, London champ. Jelena Prokopcuka, 2005, 2006 NYC champ, Christelle Daunay, French NR, Valeria Straneo, World Champ marathon silver medalist from Moscow, and Edna Kiplagat, World Champ gold medalist, 2013, 2011, as well as Kim Smith, Kiwi star and Amy Hastings, one of the top American runners. 

Buzunehs Deba continued to move ahead, hitting the halfway in 1:12.58, giving Deba a lead of three minutes and two seconds over the chasing pack. Keen observers wondered out loud, could Deba be caught. 

Somewhere between 14 and 15 miles, Priscah Jeptoo, with one foot supinating and one foot pronating in an extreme manner, took off. Between 14 and 15.5 miles, Jeptoo put 61 seconds between herself and the chasing pack! 

But, for the first time, Jeptoo cut into the lead that Deba had been accumulating in a surprising fashion. 

For anyone who understands running mechanics, Priscah Jeptoo is a vision of injuries about to happen. However, the truth is, even with the supinating and pronating, the faster Priscah runs, the better she looks. Although one observer noted that he would hate to be running next to her. 

Priscah Jeptoo dropped from running 5:30 miles to 5:15, then 5:04, then 5:05. At 30k, the difference was 1:50, the closest that Deba had allowed anyone to get to her. While Deba continued to run 5:30s, Jeptoo was pressing and her near five minute miles were cutting into the safety net that Deba had built. 

Tigist Tufa Demisse, the training partner of Buzunesh Deba, started to fall back at 35k, having dropped seventeen seconds behind Deba, as Deba reached 35k in 2:01.05. Priscah Jeptoo, making a herculean effort, had cut the lead to 55 seconds between her and Deba at 35k and was down 28 seconds on Demisse. 

At 24 miles, Priscah Jeptoo went from third to second, passing Demisse and flying by the training partner of Buzunesh Deba. 

and then, there were two....

Priscah Jeptoo was determined, and she continued to creep up on Deba, going by at 25 miles and building a lead of 18 seconds by 40k. Deba went behind Jeptoo, but that was all she wrote.

Priscah Jeptoo continued to surge and won the race in 2:25.07, to Buzunesh Deba's 2:25.56. Jeptoo had taken the three minute, two second lead of Buzunesh Deba at the halfway point and, running 1:11.07, a negative split by nearly five minutes from her first half, won not only the 2013 ING NYC Marathon, but won the $500k grand prize of the World Marathon masters! 

Buzunesh Deba would finish second for the second year, in 2:25.56. Jelena Prokopcuka of Lativa, the 2005 and 2006 champion, surprised many with her third placing today, in 2:27.47. 

Christelle Daunay of France, who observers had noted was in fine shape, after battling injuries for some time, finished a very promising fourth place in 2:28.14. 

In fifth, World Champ silver medalist Valeria Straneo was quite impressive, running 2:28.22. In sixth, Kim Smith, who has yet to hit the fast marathon she deserves and is capable of, ran 2:28.49 on this blustery day. 

Seventh was Sabrina Mockenhaupt, of Germany, who ran 2:29.10. Eighth place was Tigist Tufa Demisse, who had risked all, running a fine personal best, in 2:29.24. Demisse was second in Jacksonville in 2:40.45, and her half marathon pb was 70:03! Huge day for Demisse! 

Edna Kiplagat, the defending World Champion in 2011, 2013, NYC champion in 2010, just had a sub par day. It happens to humans. Edna was ninth in 2:30.04.

In tenth, Diane Nukuri-Johnson ran 2:30.09. 

This day was one of great competition, as Priscah Jeptoo, from three plus minutes back, ran down Buzunesh Deba, who gambled and beat everyone today, but one person. 

And that is the way the ING New York City marathon plays out: like a huge Italian opera, orchestrated with great athletes, each with a different song or story to play. 

Today, Priscah Jeptoo was victorious. 

And her coffers were filled, not only with a first place medal, but over five hundred thousand dollars. 

A fitting day, with 50,740 starters to renew the spirit of a city and region who have had a very tough year. 

And somewhere, the late Fred Lebow and late Grete Waitz are smiling. The race that one created and one won nine times continues to grow and prosper. 

2013 ING NYCM, Top ten women, 1. Priscah Jeptoo, KEN, 2:25.07, 2. Buzunesh Deba, ETH, 2:25.56, 3. Jelena Prokopcuka, LAT, 2:27.47, 4. Christelle Daunay, FRA, 2:28.14, 5. Valeria Straneo, ITA, 2:28.22, 6. Kim Smith, NZL, 2:28.49, 7. Sabrina Mockenhaupt, GER, 2:29.10, 8. Tigist Tufa Demisse, ETH, 2:29.24, 9. Edna Kiplagat, KEN, 2:30.04, 10. Diane Nukuri-Johnson, BDI, 2:30.09, #INGNYCM

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