Chilean Miner NYC Marathon – Rescued Chilean miner Edison Pena sang no Elvis tunes this time. He returned to run the NYC Marathon on Saturday, after a year in which he was hospitalized in Santiago for psychological problems and reported drug and alcohol issues.
Having spent 69 days trapped underground last fall with 32 fellow miners, Pena says the trauma of the event has “hit us now.” The first anniversary of the rescue was Oct. 13.
“I don’t really want to go into depth about the challenges that I faced, but suffice to say that I have gotten help and declared a truce with the problems I’ve had,” Pena said at a NYC Road Runners press conference Thursday before about 40 reporters. “I’m very fortunate to have a team of therapists, and right now I feel pretty good.”
It was a stark contrast from the press conference last year, when a jovial Pena charmed more than 100 media members and topped it off with a rendition of “Return to Sender” by Presley. He declined a request for song, saying many of his fellow miners don’t have jobs and suffer from “psychological issues” and insomnia.
“The impact of being trapped in the mine — we’re feeling after we got out of the mine,” Pena said through an interpreter.
He’s received no financial benefit from the mining company or the Chilean government, but has gotten support from his wife and family during his ordeal, he said. No book or movie deals have materialized. Running the marathon is something he had chosen on his own accord.
“The hardest time of the last year was when I was hospitalized. I realized that I felt like I was divided in two,” Pena said. “That there was a normal me and a me that was a gorilla, and that I need to control that gorilla.”
The Chilean citizen is back to tackle the 26.2-mile Marathon in New York because “running is very therapeutic for me.”
“I decided to run again because I wanted to encourage others, and I wanted to show them and show myself that, ‘Yes, we can,”‘ he told a NYC crowd.