DEBA is an intimate portrait of one of the most exciting athletes to emerge from New York City in a generation: Buzunesh Deba. Original B&W photography by Fred Goris, essay from Knox Robinson and design by Sean Henry Lee. Produced by Out Way In as a limited run of 1000 copies.
40 Pages; 7.875 in x 10.5 in; Printed on high-quality 50lb newsprint; Saddle-stitched; $10
Born in Ethiopia’s Rift Valley, Buzunesh Deba moved to New York City as a teenager. At the 2011 New York City Marathon she placed second behind childhood friend and countrywoman Firehiwot Dado. At the 2013 New York City Marathon Deba took off with training partner Tigist Tufa early in the race to establish a commanding lead over the field. She was eventually tracked down and passed near the finish in Central Park by Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya. In 2014 she placed second in the Boston Marathon, breaking the existing course record in the process and becoming one of only 20 women in history to run under 2 hours and 20 minutes for 26.2 miles. Today she lives and trains in the Bronx with husband and coach, Worku Beyi, and dreams of becoming New York City’s first hometown champion since the race expanded to all five boroughs in 1976.
Narratives about East African long distance dominance flourish, the winners and their records continue to confound cognition, cheaters prosper until suddenly, shockingly, they don’t any more. We likewise elevate survivors of terminal disease, life-threatening accidents, unspeakable trauma and random acts of God to the same stage, placing struggle alongside struggle with the marathon as backdrop in the hope some connections, however fleeting and tangential, will be made even as we are pulled ineluctably deeper and deeper into running itself.
We want stories. We need explanations for why we’re out there doing what we do. We must justify this movement—this body’s movement—because it feels vaguely transgressive and antithetical to much of what we hear, see and say it is to be modern.
Excerpted from In Order to Live by Knox Robinson