On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Monday, October 18, 2010

A new alternative to the 9+1?

I'm sure you've all heard about this dude by now:
That is Edison Peña, the (formerly) trapped Chilean miner who continued his running regime of roughly 10k a day while underground.  As a reward for his "marathon"-like trials underground, Mary Wittenberg has extended an invitation to him to participate in the New York City Marathon this November.

I'll admit that I was the only person in the world who didn't follow this story avidly, basically because I have no heart wasted all of my mining energy back in 2002 on the Quecreek Mine Rescue in PA (remember that one?).  Sure, it was only 4 days, but I cried actual tears when those guys came out of the mine.  Tears - seriously.  And I don't often cry.  A few years later I read a book on strip mining and realized how brutal the whole mining industry to people and to the land, and then I forgot about mining again.  Until last week.

I have two thoughts on this:
1.  Did the Chilean miners have showers underground?  Because if not, um, those miners were probably fresh.
2.  Can we add this to the list of official ways to qualify for the marathon?  Enter the lottery, run really fast, raise money for a charity, pay a lot of money, run enough qualifying races, or be trapped underground in a mine for a long, long time?  I suppose the last one should be qualified as "by special invitation from the race director," but just in case you want to recreate the experience, here's a link to some mining jobs in New York State.


  1. honestly, if he does accept and then runs faster than me. i'll prob panic. is that mean?

  2. Are they paying his way too? Because a trip from Chile to NYC is NOT cheap.

  3. He WILL run faster than me. I'm already resigned to that.
    And no idea on the travel costs. My impression is that the invitation is more of a token than something anyone expects him to actually use... but then again, who knows?

  4. Hahahaha! Would that guy really accept? I have serious doubts about that.

  5. He is a beast. I hope he runs it.

    Oh, and these guys are not surface strip miners. They are real miners.

  6. Yeah, that was a little misleading of me to suggest that strip mining and these guys are comparable when, as far as I can tell, strip mining is just overall icky and mining is terrifically dangerous but much less... bad. That book made an impact on me and I wanted to mention it.