3. The Apartheid Ends
In 1992 Willie Mtolo went from apartheid to the winners circle. International sanctions against South African athletes had just been lifted and Mtolo wasted no time getting to the finish line in New York City. That year, he was not only the first South African to complete the NYC Marathon, he was also the first South African to win the NYC Marathon.
2. Chilean Miner
As if surviving being trapped in a mine for 69 days wasn't enough for this Chilean miner, he had to tackle the NYC Marathon a month after being rescued. During Edison Pena's terrifying time stuck in the mine he was working at in 2010, he ran six to seven miles every day in his mining boots. It sounds crazy to us, but to Pena it was essential to surviving and encouraging his fellow captives. Not only did he inspire the miners, he got the attention of the New York Road Runners. Inspired by Pena's feat of endurance and his perserverence, NYRR invited him to run in the NYC Marathon, which he finished in just under 6 hours despite knee pain.