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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Saved miner triumphs as marathoner


Staff writer

Chilean miner Edison Pena said Monday he is ready to tackle more races and continue making "a positive impact on the world" after completing the Tokyo Marathon in a personal-best time the previous day.

Pena was one of the 33 Chilean miners trapped in the San Jose mine in August and eventually rescued two months later. The 35-year-old earned his nickname "the Runner" for jogging through the mine's tunnels during the ordeal and was the 12th miner to be rescued.

The Chilean finished the Tokyo Marathon in five hours, eight minutes and 19 seconds. About a month after the dramatic rescue, he completed the New York City Marathon in five hours, 40 minutes and 51 seconds.

"My knees kept hurting. It wasn't easy," Pena said of his Tokyo run through a translator. "But I think it went well and I enjoyed it."

Pena said he had been jogging before the incident at the mine and continued to do so even when he was trapped. In the final days before their rescue, eight others joined him in the daily routine.

"In the darkness it was as if I was talking to the mine . . . telling it to watch me fight, and that I am not going to lose," he explained. "Exercise and running made me feel better, I wasn't depressed anymore," he added.

Pena is set to run in at least two more marathons this year, but he says the point isn't about shaving minutes off his times.

"I would like to run as long as I can to promote sporting events and open doors to the world, to motivate the young people," he said.

Pena has expressed interest in returning to the mines for a living, despite the safety concerns and relatively low salary. He has already been offered a similar job at a different mine.

"I still think that working at a mine is a good opportunity," he said.



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