Chilean Miner Edison Pena Invited to Race in the Legendary New York City Marathon


If Pena isn't up to running the marathon, a five mile race on the eve of marathon weekend that weaves through New York's historic Central Park is another option. Or if he wants to delay the trip until the spring, Wittenberg said, that's OK, too.

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"We would treat him with to a VIP experience and really would want to give him the chance to appreciate the support he'd find from New Yorkers and runners everywhere," she said.

"I'm thankful as a runner that he had running in his life, and he had the comfort and solace that he needed."

Gifts, Invitations Showered Upon Chilean Miners

In addition to the marathon, Pena has also been invited to the historic home of Elvis Presley.

Elvis Presley Enterprises has extended an invitation to Pena to come to Graceland in Tennessee on them. Pena is an Elvis fanatic who had listened to music by the "King of Rock" to pass the time.

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"This was a terrible tragedy and we discreetly sent over a few items in mid-September once we learned Mr. Pena was an Elvis fan," said Kevin Kern, the director of public information at Elvis Presley Enterprises. "Elvis was always generous with his fans and thankful, and part of our mission is to continue his good work and legacy. It seemed fitting to help this fan in need by doing what we could to help him pass the time."

Kern said that DVDs, CDs, and even souvenir Elvis sunglasses were sent to Chile, and then down the mineshaft, to Pena.

"Now that this has ended happily, we thought it would be fitting to offer Mr. Pena and a family member a trip to Memphis to visit Graceland where he will be treated like a rock star," Kern said.

Setting the Scene
Setting the Scene in Chile

Delta Airlines has offered to pay for Pena's flight and his hotel room and meals will also be provided for him.

"We look forward to welcoming Edison to Memphis, the birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll and all things Elvis when he feels up to the trip," Kern said. "Elvis fans are everywhere, and we all now know who is the biggest fan in Chile."

Other items gifted to the miners included an Apple iPod Touch, the popular portable media player, as well as a free trip to the Greek islands of their choice.

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