New York Marathon Chilean Miner Says He Trained by Outrunning Avalanches, Landsides and Cave-ins

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New York, New York --

Rescued Chilean miner, Edison Peña, drew a hush from a crowd of spectators and admirers who gathered around him to watch him pick up his bib from the New York Marathon officials Thursday, as he told his inspirational story that not only did he train for the up coming marathon while trapped in a mineshaft a half mile beneath the earth for 69 days, but that he trained up on the surface during his lunch breaks too, before the mine collapse.

In fact, on the day of the mine collapse, Peña recalled to the captive audience of mostly running fans that it was during his daily training routine of placing a stick of dynamite at the foot of a mountain, lighting it up and running away from the avalanche of rolling rocks and debris that he found himself trapped in the mine with 32 other men.

“I never start running until I hear the thunderous sound of the exploding dynamite,” said Peña, who as a child of an impoverished miner was too poor to afford a starting pistol. So together with the other children of his village used sticks of dynamite, instead of a signal gun, to start their runs.

However, this time, Peña could sense something was different from all the other landslides he triggered with explosives.

“After the explosion,” said Peña as he outran the wave of boulders, dust and abandoned mining equipment behind him. “The earth she did not stop shaking for some reason. Not like she usually does after a minute or two, all depending on how many sticks of dynamite I use, of course. But instead she kept shaking.”

Peña thought to himself that perhaps there was someone else from his village training in the area, as he never before in his life experienced an earthquake.

At the moment, however, there were more pressing matters for Peña to attend to.

“When I looked over my shoulder,” said Peña. “I could see the avalanche was gaining on me. So I had to make a decision and quick.”

Fortunately for Peña there was a mineshaft just a quarter of a mile or so ahead of him, so he made a sharp turn inside of it.

“Just in time too,” said Peña. “The rocks sealed the entrance of the mine behind me.”

Once safely inside, Pena did not stop running however. Instead he turned on the light on his miner’s hat and kept running down into the interior of the mountain until he encountered the other miners at the bottom of the darkened shaft.

“When I first saw them standing there in the dark, I said to them, ‘What? Don’t tell me you were training for the marathon too?” said a nearly exhausted but relieved Peña.

Peña has agreed to submit to a full body cavity search before the beginning of the race on Sunday as a safety precaution imposed by the marathon officials.

Copyright © 2008-2010 by Robert W. Armijo