He’s struggled with drug and alcohol problems since he became a celebrity.
From: NYRR Media
In August 2010, Edison Pena was the 12th Chilean miner to emerge from the ground in front of a rapt international audience. He and his fellow miners were celebrated worldwide, and Pena ran last year’s ING New York City Marathon much to the delight of spectators, media and all of New York.
It’s been a long year since then.
Nicknamed “The Runner” for the daily 3-6 miles he ran in the mine last year, Pena’s struggle with drugs and alcohol was documented in a recent New York Times article.
Speaking at a press event on Thursday, Pena touched upon his difficulties, but mostly wanted to express his excitement about running his second New York marathon on Sunday, something he wanted to do as part of his healing process.
“The last year has been very difficult,” he said through a translator. “I had to process everything that happened. I committed a lot of mistakes, but I also continued to run to illuminate my path. I’m here despite the fact that I’ve fallen down to show that I’ve risen up.”
“I don’t really want to go into depth about the challenges that I faced,” he said, when pressed. “But suffice it to say that I have gotten help and declared a truce with the problems I’ve had.”
Mary Wittenberg, president and CEO of New York Road Runners, said that when the organization understood that once again running was something that was helping Pena, “we threw our arms open wide to welcome him back.”
At the end of the day, Pena says, it is running that will lead him away from the demons he has faced. “That runner high is so satisfying and really helps dissipate my problems,” he said. “The wonderful feeling after running is very therapeutic for me.”