Posted: Nov 7, 2010 10:13 AM
Source: Associated Press
A Chilean miner who jogged miles underground while waiting to be rescued joined some the world's best marathoners and thousands of other runners in the New York City Marathon on Sunday.
Edison Pena started off in Staten Island at 9:40 a.m., hoping to cover the 26.2-mile-course through the city's five boroughs in six hours. By 10:12 a.m., "The Runner" - as his fellow miners had nicknamed him - had covered the first few miles, cheered on by residents of a Brooklyn neighborhood.
"First, I want to run this marathon, but secondly, I'd like to motivate those people who aren't running the marathon to do so in the future," he said through a translator. "I also want to specially motivate young children and youth to run because running makes you free."
The 34-year-old was among the 33 miners rescued last month after spending 69 days trapped 2,300 feet underground by a cave-in. An avid runner, he jogged several miles every day through tunnels.
He had cut his steel-tipped electrician's boots down to ankle height so he could train each morning and afternoon along the rocky, muddy 1,000-yard corridor where the men were trapped.
He built up strength by dragging a large wooden pallet that was attached to a cord tied to his waist.
NYC Marathon officials heard about Pena's subterranean training and planned to invite him as an honored guest. But he wanted to actually run the race.