Chilean Miner Marathoner Running Around Town

Peña was among 33 miners rescued Oct. 13 after a cave-in trapped them 2,300 feet underground for 69 days

By Michael Horowicz
|  Saturday, Nov 6, 2010  |  Updated 10:42 AM EDT
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Katy Tur reports.

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Chilean miner Edison Peña arrived in the United States on Thursday to try to run the New York City Marathon.
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Going from a half-mile underground to 1,050 feet above it, Chilean miner Edison Peña visited the Empire State Building on Friday and scoped out the route he will run in the New York City Marathon.

Hunched over against the cold on the 86th floor of New York's tallest building, Peña peered through binoculars at Central Park, site of the marathon's finish line Sunday.

"Very pretty," he said in Spanish.

Peña was among 33 miners rescued Oct. 13 after a cave-in trapped them 2,300 feet underground for 69 days. To fight boredom and depression, Peña cut his steel-toed work boots into high-tops and ran laps up and down a 1,000-yard corridor in the mine. He was the twelfth man lifted out of the mine.

Marathon organizers, hearing of the subterranean runner, invited him to compete in the annual race through New York.

Peña, 34, is an Elvis Presley fan, and on Thursday he crooned a few lines of "Suspicious Minds" and gyrated on the Late Show with David Letterman. He has accepted an invitation to visit Graceland, Presley's estate in Memphis, Tennessee, and will also be flown to Las Vegas to see "Viva Elvis," a Cirque du Soleil show based on Presley's music.

He also is scheduled to attend a celebration at the Chilean restaurant Pomaire on Friday night in the Theater District. The restaurant was the site of a media vigil during the miners' ordeal.

But he looked tired as he braved the chilly wind at the top of the Empire State building in a blue windbreaker. He cracked a smile only when a tourist greeted him in Spanish.

As handlers rushed him through the Empire State Building's art deco lobby, he described New York as "beautiful" and said the view had not made him dizzy despite his long time underground.

Asked if the other miners might be jealous of his trip, Pena said simply, "I don't know."

Then a bodyguard closed the door of his SUV, and Pena was whisked away.

Elvis had left the building.

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