Pena, 34, was trapped underground for 69 days inside a collapsed gold and copper mine in Chile but ran 6-7 miles every day under the tunnels to stay in shape and to ease anxiety.
“Maybe I ran because I was anxious, maybe to find a way out,” Edison told reporters. “Running is a way of releasing tensions, clearing the head, freeing yourself from chaotic thoughts.”
While most participants in the NYC Marathon train for months running outdoors and on treadmills, Pena had an unorthodox training method: He ran back and forth along a dark, humid 1,000-yard path inside the collapsed mine where he and 32 other men were trapped for 69 days before being rescued in October.
‘WE THOUGHT WE WERE GOING TO DIE’
Edison, who used to cycle two hours a day to commute to his mining job before getting trapped underground, says running helped him maintain some sense of control over a helpless and oftentimes hopeless situation.
“If I had to run barefoot, I would have done it,” Pena said. “Life has given us a new challenge — to care more deeply, to be more present with the people we love.
“There was a reason I ran inside the mine. I think things can change. We suffered so much, that it has to be worth something. We thought we were going to die. I always had faith to keep fighting, to stand up to things, to do what could be done. I never lost faith in my Lord.”
Samantha Chang is the executive editor of TheImproper and a celebrity writer at Examiner.