Rescued Chilean miner Edison Pena salutes and says "Viva Chile" as he leaves a New York City Marathon news conference, in New York, Thursday. Pena is aiming to finish the marathon this Sunday. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Less than a month after being rescued from a two-month ordeal in a Chilean mine, Edison Pena — a.k.a. Miner No. 12 — will run in the New York Marathon Sunday.
Speaking at a news conference after his arrival in New York Thursday, Pena described how he had stayed in shape while trapped in the mine — by running up to 7 miles a day in the mine's closed-off tunnels.
Here's an excerpt from a Reuters report:
"When I ran in the darkness, I was running for life,'' Pena, speaking through a translator, told a news conference in New York.
"I was running to show that I wasn't just waiting around.... and I also wanted God to see that I really wanted to live.''
The New York Road Runners, which organizes the marathon, had invited Pena to be a guest at Sunday's race, but he said last week he did not want to watch — he wanted to run.
During his confinement, Pena, 34, wore some cut-up boots to run. But then rescue workers sent him a pair of sneakers through the hole used to convey food and other materials to the trapped miners.
He received more goods Thursday — a watch, a GPS unit, and a bib with his name on it for Sunday's race. Pena says he might be able to complete the 26.2-mile race in about 6 hours, explaining that one of his knees was injured in the mine.
Speaking about what was on his mind during his underground runs, Pena said, "I was going to beat destiny. I was going to turn the tables on destiny... I was saying to that mine, 'I can outrun you. I'm gonna run 'til you're just tired and bored with me.'
"And I did it."
Pena also sang a few lines by his beloved Elvis Presley, whose music he listened to during his runs in the dark, hot mine. His favorite Presley song, he said, is "Return to Sender."
When asked what he thought of coming to New York to run in the marathon, Pena said, "It's a dream come true."