Edison Peña sure made his first trip out of his native Chile worth his time! The Chilean miner, rescued just a few weeks ago after surviving 69 harrowing days trapped underground, landed in NYC on Thursday morning. Officials from the New York Road Runners arranged for marathon legend Haile Gebrselassie to pick Peña up from the airport. After meeting Gebrselassie, Peña was whisked into midtown where he taped an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman.
Then, Peña competed in the ING New York City marathon this weekend and actually completed the grueling 26.2 mile course. As he crossed the finish line in Central Park, a Chilean flag was draped across his back and Elvis (his favorite singer) blasted from the loud speakers.
"I'm here because I want people to feel free,” Peña told reporters. "I want them to strive for their own freedom. That's why it was worthwhile for me to come this far to run a marathon. I struggled with myself, I struggled with my own pain, but I made it to the finish line.”
Pena not only crossed the finish line, but managed to inspire everyone with his determination, grit and exuberance.