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Chilean Miner To Run Marathon Again

November 5, 2011 by staff 

Chilean Miner To Run Marathon Again, Rescued Chilean miner Edison Pena sang Elvis songs not this time. A penalty has become subject to take the New York Marathon on Sunday, after a year in which he was hospitalized in Santiago reported psychological problems and drug and alcohol problems.

After spending 69 days trapped underground last fall with 32 fellow miners, Pe?a said that the trauma of the event “has beaten us now.” The first anniversary of the rescue was October 13.

“I really do not want to go into depth about the challenges they face, but suffice to say that I have received help and declared a truce with the problems I had,” Pena said in a conference in New York Road Runners press Thursday before about 40 journalists. “I feel very fortunate to have a team of therapists, and now I feel great.”

It was a stark contrast to the press conference last year, when a jovial Pe?a charmed more than 100 members of the media and topped off with a version of “Return to Sender” by Presley. He declined a request for the song, saying that many of his fellow miners are unemployed and suffering from “psychological problems” and insomnia.

“The impact of being trapped in the mine – you feel after you left the mine,” Pena said through an interpreter.

He received no financial benefit from the mining company and the Chilean government, but has gained the support of his wife and family during their ordeal, he said. No book or movie deals have materialized.

“The most difficult moment was last year when he was hospitalized. I realized that I felt like I was split in two,” Pena said. “That was not a normal one and I was a gorilla, and I have to check that the gorillas.”

He’s back to tackle the 26.2 mile course in New York because “running is very therapeutic for me.”

“I decided to run again because he wanted to encourage others, and I wanted to show and prove to myself that, ‘Yes we can,’” he said.

The penalty of 35 years old earned the nickname “The Runner” after logging of up to six miles every day through tunnels of gold and copper mine to keep your mind and body strong. Raced steel-toed boots in sweltering darkness until rescuers were able to make contact after 17 days and dropped food and a pair of running shoes.

Presley also asked to be sent and sang for his miners trapped lift their spirits. His beloved singer was blasting from the speakers when he crossed the finish line in New York Marathon last year, wrapped in the Chilean flag. She ran, walked with a limp and a bad knee to finish in 5 hours, 40 minutes.

His whirlwind U.S. tour includes an appearance on “Late Show with David Letterman” and a visit to Graceland, Presley’s property in Memphis, Tennessee

New York Marathon Director Mary Wittenberg NYRR and the organizers were in contact with Rock after completing the Tokyo Marathon in February. When they heard about the emotional struggles Pe?a last month, got in touch with the Consulate of Chile in New York and Santiago Pe?a therapist to check its status.

“We worked through the consulate and wanted to make sure this made sense to Edison,” said Wittenberg. “We threw our arms open to welcome you here to New York.”

Accompanied by his therapist in New York, Pe?a smiled rare during the press conference when he heard Elvis sing a song for the video of his search last year’s marathon.

“Stay tuned for the songs,” Pena said. “Maybe not today, but day to day.”

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