This weekend, one of the most watched events in long-distance running took place in New York City. While Maree’s Journey is a testament to the challenges facing every competitor, everyone faces unique challenges as well. This year’s event featured one of the most unique and challenging stories of all time.
Although the winners were Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia (2:08:14) and Edna Kiplagat of Kenya (2:28:20), who finished first in the men’s and women’s categories respectively, it was Edison Peña a few hours later that stole the spotlight on Sunday. Edison’s journey to New York City was one that nobody could have anticipated.
Edison was one of the 33 Chilean miners that became trapped a few months ago after a cave in. The miners spent 64 days trapped underground, including the first 17 days without being discovered. After they were discovered, nutrition gels, water and medicines were passed through to them until solid food could be passed through to them.
While being trapped in an underground tunnel some 2,300 feet below ground for over two months, Edison trained. He ran in his work boots after cutting down the ankles to something more appropriate for running. Additional exercise came from doing core training exercises by tying a rope around his waist and attaching the other end to a wooden pallet. Peña became known amongst those trapped underground as “the runner” and was invited to watch the New York City Marathon by organizers.
Just when you thought surviving for over two months trapped underground was inspiring, Peña, an amateur runner, decided to run in the marathon.
With his goal set at six hours, Peña pushed through the mental and physical challenges, walking some and icing his knees along the way, to cross the finish line in just over five hours and 40 minutes.
Waiting for him were thousands of fans cheering as if he’d just won the race.
Edna Kiplagat of Kenya wins the Women’s 2010 NYC Marathon.
Gebre Gebremariam wins the Men’s 2010 NYC Marathon.