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

Edison Pena ran six miles almost every day he was stuck in the mine.

ByABC News
October 15, 2010, 1:43 PM

Oct. 15, 2010 — -- Nicknamed "The Runner" because of his workout regimen during the weeks he spent stuck underground in Chile, miner Edison Pena has been invited to stretch his legs in one of the most famous runs in the world: the New York City Marathon.

The New York Road Runners Club, which organizes the annual 26.2 mile trek through the five boroughs of New York City, has offered to host Pena during this year's race, scheduled for Nov. 7.

Pena, 34, was the 12th of 33 miners to be rescued this week from the vault where he was trapped for 69 days after a mine collapse.

Perhaps best known for his love of Elvis Presley, whose music he requested while underground, Pena also made headlines for his dedication to running, often covering six miles a day in the mine's corridors.

Such dedication to running, according to Road Runners president Mary Wittenberg, prompted the invitation.

"NYRR wanted to send a message of great support and admiration to Mr. Pena for the heart and soul and fortitude he showed every day by running in the mine," Wittenberg said. "He inspired a lot of us and we just want to say, 'Way to go, well done, we're thankful you had running to help you through such at tough time.'"

Wittenberg said she has been unable to reach Pena or the Chilean consulate to talk about the invitation. Pena was one of the first three miners released from the hospital, where they had been taken for treatment after the rescue.

Pena is welcome to attend the marathon either as a spectator or, if he's up to it, could bypass the already-full registration and run the race, Wittenberg said.

"We would certainly be happy to have him run but we were thinking it might be nice for him to have a relaxing experience and perhaps ride through the streets of New York in front of the race or stand at the finish line and have a chance to bask in what I think will be a very warm reception from both New Yorkers and runners," she said.