Chilean miner Edison Pena arrived in the United States on Thursday to try to run the New York City Marathon, greeted at the airport by world-record holder Haile Gebrselassie.
"He couldn't believe Haile was there to greet him, and he gave him a big hug," New York Road Runners President Mary Wittenberg said after returning from meeting him at the airport.
Pena was one of the 33 miners whose saga captivated the world when they were trapped for 69 days after an Aug. 5 collapse stranded them nearly a half-mile underground. The 34-year-old Pena, the 12th miner rescued, is also a big Elvis Presley fan who received an invitation to visit Graceland.
Gebrselassie, the Ethiopian star, is running his first NYC Marathon. He was joined at the airport by 2004 New York champion Hendrick Ramaala of South Africa.