On August 5, 2010 a 34-year-old man, learning a new kind of work, was trapped in a collapsed mine with 32 other Chilean miners. We saw them re-birthed one by one as they traveled 2,300 feet to the surface in a metal capsule. They had lived, survived, prayed and cooperated together for 69 days in semidarkness. Rescue day was October 13. Just three weeks later Edison Pena, the 12th miner rescued, flew to New York City where he recounted his story and sang Elvis songs on “The David Letterman Show.” Then on Sunday, November 7 he ran the 26-mile NY Marathon, completing the race in 5 hours, 40 minutes and 51 seconds, overcoming a knee injury he had received in the mine. “What I did today was a struggle against myself, against the pain I was feeling,” he said after the race.
Later Edison Pena commented that he wanted to inspire others, especially children, to run. While trapped in the mine the others nicknamed him “The Runner” because he spent every day running through the tunnels. Still speaking about completing the marathon, Pena said, “It was worth it because it’s about feeling free; it’s about motivating people; show them that things are possible.”
Edison Pena has found within himself a strength and determination that has transformed his whole life. It will be interesting to see how this “band of brothers” will live out their story. The authorized book, 33 Men, is soon to be published. A millionaire opened $50,000 bank accounts for each miner. Expect a movie or two next year. Then the hard part of their story truly will begin. What will they do with the rest of their lives? It is a question all of us need to address occasionally. Strength, motivation, faith and a community of friends are all needed. But as Edison Pena’s story reminds us, pain is a part of the determination to really live and finish the race.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Run your race. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.