Most people train for the New York City Marathon above ground, in sneakers, after years of working up to marathon distance. Edison Peña trained thousands of feet underground, in boots he sawed the ankles off of. And he still finished.
You know how with some stories you can just feel Hollywood agents frantically working their phones about, jockeying for the rights? This is one of them. Peña, one of the 33 Chilean miners rescued a few weeks ago after being trapped following a mine collapse, spent many of his 69 days underground, running. He did loops of three to six miles a day in sawed-off steel-toed boots, and when he was finally taken above ground he stated his intent to race in the New York City Marathon. (I can already see the montage!)
Race organizers figured they'd fly him up as a special guest, but Peña insisted on racing. He wanted to finish in under six hours, and the Marathon officials, fearing for the health of a guy who'd never run a marathon before—and who, lest you forget, had just spend two and a half months underground—pushed him to walk as much as he needed. But Peña ran most of it, completing the first half in around two hours and finishing the entire race in five hours, 40 minutes and 51 seconds. Which is about as long as it takes me to get out of bed some weekend mornings.
Impressive! But not to Peña: "First of all, I want to say that I would have run faster," he told reporters afterward. "And I did run faster in the mine."