November 5th, 2010
01:11 PM ET

Fitness digest: Chilean miner signs up for marathon, barefooters to run thru NY

Making us feel woefully inadequate this week is Chilean miner, Edison Pena, 34.  The guy popped out almost 70 days underground and decided to run in the New York City marathon Sunday.

Joining New York, Philadelphia and Seattle are among several cities hosting  treks this month. Here is the marathon version of the fitness digest.

Chilean miner to run NY marathon

Not only did Edison Pena survive 69 days in a cramped mine 2,300 feet underground.  He turned down the invitation to be a spectator for the New York City Marathon, because he wanted to run it.

While stuck in the mine, he earned the nickname "the runner" for jogging through one of the mine's tunnels, but he was eventually forced to stop after rocks began to fall along his route.

No shoes, no socks

A few New York City marathon runners are ditching the shoes in their 26.2-miles run, reports the New York Times.  Perhaps, these runners should consider tetanus shots.

Barefoot running has gained popularity after the release of best-selling book “Born to Run,” by Christopher McDougall, which espouses that running shoeless  improves posture and reduces injuries.

On Friday, McDougall, actor Peter Sarsgaard and others will perform a cabaret about shoeless running.

Don't let this happen to you

For marathon newbies, cramps, overuse injuries and dehydration can be common problems, reports Reuters.

Runners should train at least six months to build up the cardiovascular stamina to endure the marathon.  Dr. Jordan D. Metzl, a sports medicine physician, warns enthusiastic rookies not to run through the pain in the article.

"Any pain changes your gait cycle, you've got to check out," he said. "Remember, the first guy who ever did this died at the end of the race."  He was referring to Pheidippides, who according to the ancient legend, ran marathon distance to spread news of Greece's victory, then dropped dead.

Very reassuring.

A yearlong exercise ... in narcissism

“Sport, no. Self-flagellation, penitence, lunacy – yes,” writes Dave Hollander for the Huffington Post.

Marathon runners are not athletes, Hollander and C.J. Sullivan write.  “They endure and then squawk about it endlessly as some kind of heroic feat. It smacks of narcissism not sport,”  Sullivan chimes in.

Their conclusion: Yes, running 26 miles is really impressive, especially for elite runners.  But do you really want to hear people talk about it all year?

Your thoughts?

soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Lincoln Brigham

    Legend has it that the first guy to run the Marathon distance died. As in Dead. That has been the point of the marathon race all along – cheating death. The marathon is about survival first, sport second, and fitness a distant third.

    November 5, 2010 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. amayda

    I think it shows mental toughness and amazing willpower to achieve such a feat. I have never entered a marathon, but I have done lots of 5 and 10K's. Planning on running my first marathon next October. I won't be "squaking" about it all year, but it is something I can take pride in for myself. It's the only singular activity I get to do.

    November 5, 2010 at 14:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Raz

    "Hollander and C.J. Sullivan write. “They endure and then squawk about it endlessly as some kind of heroic feat. It smacks of narcissism not sport,” Sullivan chimes in."

    I'll assume neither of these two have ever run for pure enjoyment in their lives. The thrill of the marathon, for the average runner, is setting a goal for yourself and achieving it. We challenge ourselves. And when we meet that challenge, yes, we may "squawk" about it a little. I'm sure when either of them writes an article worthy of publication they may feel a little proud of themselves, too.

    November 5, 2010 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Amy

      Raz, I completely agree. It is about setting a goal and achieving it. As for the squawking, anyone who has run a full marathon earns the right to squawk about it!

      November 5, 2010 at 15:34 | Report abuse |
    • dirtrunner

      well put! they sound bitter, don't they (hollander and sullivan). personally, i've found runners to be some of the most humble, down to earth and generous people out there. maybe it's bc we all look so beat up and smell so bad on the road/trail. maybe it's bc we've all had tough days as well as great ones. we runners do "squawk" to one another, on message boards, on runs together. we "squawk" about shoes, about barefoot running, about various aches and pains, about weather, but for the most part i find we don't "squawk" to non-runners. i think we distance runners know most non-runners don't understand why we love the sport, but i have to say i have not yet encountered the snarkiness of the like of H and S.

      November 5, 2010 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
    • John

      100% agreed. Since when did setting a challenging goal (and then taking pride in achieving it) become narcissism? If having the discipline to stick to a difficult training schedule for months in order to attain a goal is narcissism, then we need more of it in the world 🙂

      November 6, 2010 at 16:00 | Report abuse |
    • Alecia

      Not to mention all the charities that benefit from the thousands of runners who bring in donation at every race. What a pair of douche bags. I guess some people can put a negative spin on anything.

      November 7, 2010 at 13:23 | Report abuse |
  4. jack

    Marathoning, on it's face, is a singular activity. But, as with many activities that benefit the person, like meditation, they also benefit society. Better mental. physical and spiritual health benefit all. Less health costs, better productivity and better psychological health have ripple affects. We all benefit!

    November 5, 2010 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Diana - A triathlete

    All I have to say is once you put your cheeseburger down and do a marathon, you'll see why they're squawking all year.

    November 5, 2010 at 19:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Sara Sheeler

    Two words: Team Hoyt.

    November 5, 2010 at 20:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ally

      Exactly! Probably the most inspirational running duo ever!

      November 5, 2010 at 23:22 | Report abuse |
  7. NYRunnerGirl

    Run a marathon and you earn the right to squawk all you want.

    November 5, 2010 at 20:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Stephen - NYC

    I am just sorry that the runners' club sold out to an orange bank for the naming rights to the event. I realize that there are other cities that also sold out as well to the orange bank. And yes, I am mean sold out. Why does every bloody event or stadium or piece of information have to have a corporate john attached to it?
    Naming rights are the modern day version of the world's oldest profession (not a bakery). I go out of my way to not buy the products or services of any of the corporate johns. So if I have to look for a bank, I will NOT go to the marathon john, nor to the other johns that have named stadiums and fields and whatnot.
    Don't get me wrong. If a local mom/pop hardware store wants to support the local little league team for baseball or soccer or football, that's great. The money stays local. But look at all the corporate johns at the NCAA and the bowl games. Every one has a john attached to it. And most if not all play in a john's stadium (some in the same john's place – I am looking at you fedex). But do the student/players get any of it? Noooo!!! But they have to wear the patch of the john's name. Talk about hypocrites (the ncaa, not the players).
    And then when writers mention the event, they sometimes mention the john's name more than once plus they will say the field's john's name as well. To me, it has the appearance of payola, especially when I read the names more than once.

    Oh, btw, can we get rid of accent health from doctors's offices? The medical information is not the problem. It's all the bloody ads every 2 minutes. And my doctor's office is very slow and inefficient so I am stuck having to hear (I don't watch it) the ads over and over again. Very annoying.

    November 5, 2010 at 23:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. CT Marathon Addict

    Team Hoyt indeed! What an amazing pair.

    I was fortunate enough to run the Marine Corps Marathon last weekend and encountered some more of the most inspirational people I could imagine. Wounded soldiers and veterans running with prostetic legs and/or hand cranking racing wheelchairs with escorts running in full combat boots and fatigues. After seeing these hero's tough out 26.2 miles there simply is simply no excuse for me (or anyone) not to be thankful for my good fortune and health and to go out and make use of our two perfectly good legs. Running is a pure form of joy and a gift and I plan to continue as long as I am able. Completing a full marathon at any speed is a huge accomplishment and I congratulate and encourage anyone who even sets out to attempt it. And please note that many of us marathon runners out there are also doing some serious fundraising for needy charities. Tens of thousands of dollars are routinely raised at marathon events. While marathon running can be one of the most self fulfilling tasks you will ever undertake... and if you sign on to raise money for a worthy charity... it can also be quite selfless. Please keep these things in mind before anyone gives a marathon runner a hard time for "squawking". Marathon runners as a group are some of the finest people I have ever known.

    Oh... and while we are squawking... (over past 5yrs) 13×26.2 + 3×39.3(Goofy) + 1×200(Ragnar) + 6x20K + 12×13.1 = the right to squawk.

    November 6, 2010 at 01:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Robert Acosta

    Not to squak but – less than one-tenth of a percent ( < 0.1%) of the USA population runs marathons. Those of us who run marathons are blessed! .....so, I am just thankful.

    November 6, 2010 at 02:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Gahan NYC

    Huffington post writer says running is not a sport? WOW, clueless idiot. I'd say bloggers on internet pages like the Huffington Post are the narcissists!
    Running is the purest athletic competition we have.
    Participating in a marathon is an exercise in taking control of your life.
    Disabled runners are amazing.
    Start running.

    November 6, 2010 at 08:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. JohnF

    As a runner of nine marathons, including one first place I will say that I agree in part with the statement that "most" marathon runners are not athletes. Lots of people want to run a marathon but few really train to race the distance...but that is not a bad thing, and I don't think narcissism is an apt description of what people get out of it. The marathon means something different to each person that runs them. For me it was competition, for other's it a sense of accomplishment, and for others it's a spiritual experience. I still enjoy running, but my competitive days are in the past, so doing organized races holds no interest for me. But I do remember my first marathon and the natural high I was on for weeks after finishing it. I'm sure that same feeling is felt by anyone that finishes a marathon be they a non-athlete, someone that overcame a disability, or someone that beat their own weight issues. I will say this though. Don't enter a marathon unless you can run the whole thing, even if you run slow. I'm sorry but a marathon training plan that includes walking is not really a training plan. Why? The marathon is an endurance event..that's why it is held in high esteem. Walking is resting, and it demeans the race and demeans the participant that does it.

    November 6, 2010 at 10:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jan

      Congratulations on your accomplishments! However, you are not much better than the article writers in that you are putting your own definition on "marathon". When I see someone walking or even stopping, then getting back out there, all I feel is awe at their determination. Even people who walk entire marathons....I wouldn't want to do that, it takes a long time! Good for them. Maybe that really is the best they can do.

      November 6, 2010 at 11:41 | Report abuse |
  13. Just BQ'd

    Recovering from MCM myself (after having qualified for Boston), I enjoyed a lovely 5-miler this AM, calves still sore from Sunday's race. All week long, while hobbling around at work, up and down stairs and such, people kept asking me why I would put my body through that, if this is how I feel after... the soreness is a badge of honor, and it reminds me that I left it all on the course. I trained long and hard for this one, and all those miles and all the discipline paid off... getting up at 3am on a Tuesday to get in a 12 miler before work is something I really, truly enjoy. My husband and I don't even sleep in on weekends... we prefer to be on the roads as early as possible, when there's no traffic, and its just us and the road. Going out for 22 miles at 4am on a Sunday may not be everyone's cup of tea, but when the time comes and you cross that finish line, man, there is no better feeling in the world.

    +1 to the comments about the rest of the population getting off their lazy a$$es and putting down the cheeseburgers.

    And +100 to the MCM experience having been overwhelmingly awe inspiring. Those soldiers (both the racers and the volunteers) were amazing... that day and every day. Thank you for all that you do.

    November 6, 2010 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • runner920

      Congrats on your accomplishment! There really is no feeling quite like finishing a marathon; it's a combination of complete exhaustion and elation. Kudos to you for getting out there early, too. I've done Chicago and Paris, and each one was a great experience, even though I couldn't bend my knees for hours afterwards and had to walk down the steps backwards for four days because my quads couldn't take it.

      November 6, 2010 at 12:49 | Report abuse |
  14. Greg

    There are great marathon training workouts posted on Holosfitness.com. Holosfitness.com is a free online fitness tool with a wide array of health, fitness, and nutrition-related information.

    November 6, 2010 at 14:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Runner by choice

    Running is not a sport??? Last time I checked, it required a significant amount of training and discipline to run a marathon. I took on that challenge and completed my first marathon at the Marine Corps Marathon last weekend. It took months of dedication (both on my part and my husband's) for that accomplishment. If I want to proudly display and speak about my accomplishment (a.k.a "squak"), then I'll gladly do it. I've earned the right, along with the medal, right? I'll be damned if someone who hasn't completed a marathon tell me what's arrogant and what's not when it comes to running. RUNNERS – SQUAK ON!!! YOU'VE EARNED IT!!!

    November 6, 2010 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. jenetex

    I'd rather go down running a 26.2 than clogging my arteries with ho-ho's and fries. Run On My Friends!!

    November 6, 2010 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Jim Lucas

    I completed 27 marathons and then sustained a knee injury from a fall. During my treatment my knee turned septic and I came close to an amputation. That was over 4 years ago. I just returned to running and would give anything to run a marathon again. Running was a huge part of my life. To be outside in any weather, hot or cold, and test myself was exhilarating. If you don't run marathons you'll never understand. It is a state of the soul. So, if you are one of those people that think runners talk too much about the marathon just walk or run away from us and leave us alone. You will never understand. On the other hand, if your mind is open and you have some soul start running and give the marathon a try.

    November 6, 2010 at 21:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Cynthia Ayed

    After 20 years of aerobics class the orthopedist told me the sideward movements were the cause of my knee pain and I needed forward motion so at age 50 started running, did my first marathon 6 months later and I am now getting ready for #15 (also 8 semi- marathons and dozens of shorter races). I run with a group of like-minded over 40's and we all agree we feel better, have less stress and more energy than 20 yrs ago. Also, planning for, training for and finishing 26.2 mile event is very empowering. In addition many of these races are also to raise awareness and money for charity so an extra incentive.

    November 7, 2010 at 03:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Dawn

    "Marathon runners are not athletes, Hollander and C.J. Sullivan write. “They endure and then squawk about it endlessly as some kind of heroic feat. It smacks of narcissism not sport,” Sullivan chimes in."

    Really? I suspect these people have never attempted to tackle a 26.2 mile course. I run hundreds and hundreds of miles all year long in order to run marathons. I am an athlete and I will tell as many people about it as will listen...and along the way I hope to inspire more people to get off their couches and get out and run, so they can brag too.

    November 7, 2010 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Daniela

      Well Said Dawn, I'm with you!

      November 7, 2010 at 13:26 | Report abuse |
  20. Daniela

    Why such trash talking about marathoners? So what if they want to talk about their accomplishments, no one said you are obligated to listen. Shame on you for telling marathoners they're not athletes, who are you to judge and incase you forgot it is an Olympic event.

    November 7, 2010 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Stephanie

    Pheidippides did not die. That is a very well debunked myth–at least in the running community. The fact that this doctor is still spouting that tells me that he's either not working with runners or just doesn't bother to research information before stating it as fact. Not someone I want to listen too.
    Marathon runners aren't athletes? I just ran my first marathon (Chicago). It took months of training and dedication and I'm very proud to have finished. I will talk about it if I want to. You can judge me after you run a marathon.

    November 7, 2010 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. MT

    Clearly these authors are more suited to the "movie-marathon"

    November 7, 2010 at 16:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Natassia

    It sounds like you've never run a marathon. Try that first then come back and write an article on marathon runners.

    November 7, 2010 at 16:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Ashiana

    While I respect marathoners for their accomplishments, the concept that " months of training and dedication" gives anyone the right to "squawk" incessantly about an achievement is obnoxious. Advanced degrees, parenting, hell–anything you do well requires those traits and more.

    November 7, 2010 at 19:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. checkdent

    Marathon runners are the selected few of us who are gifted with extraordinary ability. They have to be highly appreciated and thanks to them we get motivation through admiration.


    November 7, 2010 at 19:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Paul

    As opposed to the endless drone of parents and grandparents "squawking" about the so-called accomplishments of their kids or grandchildren. "Proud parent of ............" Gag.

    November 7, 2010 at 20:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Jen

    Running to me is one of the most athletic and mentally challlenging sports. I was surprised and disturbed to read the narcissism piece. I have been running since March 2009 and ran my first marathon earlier this year. I had run every type of running race with the exception of the marathon. I wanted to test my physical ability and overcome the mental fear of running such a long distance. I signed up for the marathon one week prior to the start and finished in just under 5 hours with very little training. I am proud of my achievement in a sport that is one of the most physically challenging because you use so many muscle groups. To those of you with narcisstic attitudes I challenge you to run a marathon and then I would like to see if you have the same opinion.

    November 7, 2010 at 22:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Baboon

    THE BEST WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT..Lose weight and make money. It is a contest like the biggest loser, only anyone can join. How do you make money, will if you lose the most weight then you can win big bucks on top of winning the battle with food. How about money for a motive? Check this out and do not miss the start date.

    November 8, 2010 at 07:11 | Report abuse | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.