A slew of jaw-dropping stories filled the adventure news cycle in 2010. Some set new lows, like when mountain biker Missy Giove pled guilty in January to smuggling marijuana after being arrested at the end of 2009, completing a tragic fall from grace. Some fulfilled promise, like the cornucopia of medals racked up by the U.S. Ski Team at the 2010 Games in Vancouver. Some ended in death, like Fredrik Ericsson's tragic fall while attempting to ski K2. Some involved chest-thumping distance records, like Roz Savage's epic row across the Pacific, Reid Stowe's 1000 days at sea, David De Rothschild's journey on a plastic sailboat, and Greg Hill's quest to ski two million vertical feet in one year. Others set extreme records for causes, like Lewis Gordon Pugh's record breaking swim in a glacial lake under Everest and Eric Larsen's expeditions to the three poles—both missions to raise awareness about climate change.
None of the above made our list. Only those stories that immediately made us stop in our tracks and learn as much as we could about a subject did. Presenting the top 10 adventure stories of 2010, complete with links to long form features, videos, and interviews, just in case you want to learn more too.
10. El Minero Corredor
Reports said that once rescuers made contact with the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground, 34-year-old Edison Pena started to run. Seventeen days after being trapped more than two empire state buildings underground, he cut off the top half of his mining boots, strapped on a miner's light, and ran through a half-mile of dank, dark subterranean corridors in 90 degree heat. "I was running to show that I wasn't just waiting around," he said. "I was running to be an active participant in my own salvation. I wasn't just waiting around. I was running because I was also contributing to the struggle for our rescue," Pena told ESPN. "I also wanted God to see that I really wanted to live."
The group dynamics and collective will of the 33 miners helped a lot, but Pena also had his own way to deal. He ran three to six miles every day. Later, rescuers sent down running shoes and an iPod stocked only with Elvis Presley tunes for Pena. He ran until the 69th day, when he emerged in front of the world as the 12th miner rescued. Soon after, he received an invite to the New York City marathon. He accepted and finished in 5 hours, 40 minutes, and 51 seconds. He ran in the shadows of skyscrapers jutting against the sky, between sunlight enfilading across city streets, and crossed the finish line despite intense knee pain while Elvis Presley belted out of the nearby PA system, "The Wonder of You."
Long Form: Way Down in the Hole, GQ