Kiki & Lala

Honoring The Guards

Posted on: November 11, 2010

All the buzz in last Sunday’s New York City Marathon was Edison Pena, the Chilean miner that ran three to six miles a day while trapped in a mine for almost 2 months.   He was invited by the  New York Road Runners when they heard about Mr. Pena’s courageous daily routine .

As spectators cheered on Edison Pena – their working class hero, few were watching the two runners escorting him through the 26.2 mile run.    But by the end of the race everyone was wondering who these two men were?

Their names are Juan Jesus Lopez and Rene Cahuizo, two Mexican immigrants who have run the NYC marathon numerous times in the past.    And here starts the story of 3 runners who started the marathon off as strangers and ended as a cohesive team with a bond so strong its as if it was formed in the risky mines of Chile.

Like Edison,  Juan Jesus and Rene are blue collar workers working hourly wages.  One works in a hamburger joint and the other a pizzeria.    They are both regular runners of the marathon.  This year however, they could not sign up because the $160 entrance fee was just too expensive for them.   Until fate intervened.


Juan Jesus Lopez in the Pizzeria

Rene Cuahuizo

When Edison Pena accepted the invitation to run in the marathon,  the NYC Road Runners needed to find him 2 escorts tasked to shoo away spectators who might come too close to him and disrupt his run or worse, harm him.  They chose Juan Jesus and Rene from their roster of Road Runners members.    A choice they will never regret.

What started off as a run FOR the Chilean turned out to be a run WITH the Chilean.  Mile after mile the Mexicans assisted Edison who was running with a busted knee.  When he was hungry, when he was thirsty, they served him.   And as they provided Edison with nourishment, they too were being nourished by Edison through raw inspiration.     The Mexicans marveled at the strength and tenacity of Edison  without realizing that what they were doing was equally as marvelous.

And after doing their job to support and protect Edison, they both had to rush to another job, their day jobs.  No time for a press con, no time for fanfare they just gathered their things and quietly went back to flipping burgers and pizza dough.

I must say that it was so heart warming to hear about marathon stories that don’t revolve around the Garmin wrapped yuppies who trained with personal trainers.  The beauty of marathons is that it turns a solitary sport like running into a communion of indomitable spirits from all social classes.    Wanna do the marathon next year, Lala-flat-foot?



1 Response to "Honoring The Guards"

noooo, i don’t want to do the marathon but i’d love to come and visit… ;p

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