On Sunday, Edison Peña will trade in his steel-tipped boots and underground caverns for sneakers and the streets of Manhattan when he runs the 2010 New York City Marathon. Peña, one of the 32 Chilean miners who was trapped nearly a half mile inside the Earth for 69 days, became known as "The Runner" -- every day, twice a day, he ran back and forth along a 1,000-yard path (roughly 0.6 miles) in the humid mine. He'd run as far as six to seven miles, sometimes while dragging a wooden plank for extra resistance.
When they learned this, the New York Road Runners invited Peña to be a guest of honor at Sunday's marathon. Then they were surprised when Peña told them he'd rather run.
"Edison Pena will be one of the stars of this year's marathon as he will be among the 43,000 or more runners at the starting line on Sunday," New York Road Runners spokesman Richard Finn said in an e-mail to the Associated Press.
Pena has been on a whirlwind media tour in New York City, appearing on David Letterman Thursdays night, where he performed his other passion -- singing Elvis songs.
While Peña was certainly the only New York City Marathon runner who did their training in a mine, his attitude toward the sport makes him just like the other 43,000 runners toeing the starting line on Sunday.
"Maybe I ran because I was anxious, maybe to find a way out," he said. "Running is a way of releasing tensions, clearing the head, freeing yourself from chaotic thoughts."