NEW YORK (AP)—Edison Pena outran destiny. Racing 26.2 miles seems like nothing after that.
So the Chilean miner who jogged through the tunnels while trapped underground didn't want to just watch from the sidelines at the New York City Marathon. He plans to run - and to finish.
"And I did it."
Pena got off the plane Thursday morning and immediately recognized the man who had come to greet him: marathon world-record holder Haile Gebrselassie. As a marathon official described their meeting later, Pena said in English, "It's incredible."
Dapper in a dark suit, the 34-year-old Pena looked quite comfortable surrounded by more than 100 media members. He even sang a few lines from his beloved Elvis Presley, whose music helped him through those daily 6 or 7-mile runs in the mine.
Bad knee and all, he predicts it will take 6 hours to finish Sunday's marathon.
"I'd like the gentlemen and ladies of the press to kindly promise that you're not going to rip me apart in your stories if I can't stand the pain in my knee," Pena said, his humor undoubtedly intact after 69 days trapped nearly a half-mile underground. "So, you know, show me some mercy, guys."