A compulsively listenable, remarkably candid memoir from world-class ultramarathon runner Charlie Engle chronicling his globe-spanning races, his record-breaking run across the Sahara Desert, and how running helped him overcome drug addiction and an unjust stint in federal prison.
After a decade-long addiction to crack cocaine and alcohol, Charlie Engle hit bottom with a near-fatal six-day binge that ended in a hail of bullets. As Engle got sober, he turned to running, which became his lifeline, his pastime, and his salvation. He began with marathons, and when marathons weren't far enough he began to take on ultramarathons, races that went for 35, 50, and sometimes hundreds of miles, traveling to some of the most unforgiving places on earth to race. The Matt Damon-produced documentary Running the Sahara followed Engle as he led a team on a harrowing, record-breaking 4,500 mile run across the Sahara Desert, which helped raise millions of dollars for charity.
Charlie's growing notoriety led to an investigation and a subsequent unjust conviction for mortgage fraud. Engle would spend 16 months in federal prison in Beckley, West Virginia. While in jail he pounded the small prison track, running endlessly in circles. Soon his fellow inmates were joining him, struggling to keep their spirits up in dehumanizing circumstances.
In Running Man, Charlie Engle tells the gripping, surprising, funny, emotional, and inspiring story of his life, detailing his setbacks and struggles - from coping with addiction to serving time in prison - and how he blazed a path to freedom by putting one foot in front of the other. This is a propulsive, raw, and triumphant story about finding the threshold of human endurance - and transcending it.
©2016 Charlie Engle (P)2016 Simon & Schuster
This isn't a book that's an easy listen, but well worth it. He has had a complex life so far, having not known anything about Charlie before starting, the odd google search was useful throughout for me. It was gripping, gruelling and challenging funny at times and raw at others...brutally honest about addiction and his flaws and thoughts on life. Made me want to get some running shoes...
Thoroughly enjoyed listening to a colourful life. As a runner's book, maybe others focus more on the challenges of running whereas this book covers his life, addictions and running. Enjoyed it...
Much more than simply a book about running. an Incredible human being...... telling a fascinating story. Very well narrated.....you won't put headphones down.
"One of the finest memoirs I have experienced."
This is a remarkably honest book about the turmoil of addiction and recovery, the joys of adventure and finally steadfastness in the face of deep injustice. A brilliant mix of A Million Little Pieces and Ultramarathon Man with a tiny dash of The Shawshank Redemption. The author writes and narrates well. Very highly recommended.
My hobby is long distance trail running and I've been aware of Mr. Engle for a while now, having watched and enjoyed the Running The Sahara documentary. Like many runners I was shocked by the legal issue he faced in the time since. That shock soon gave way to outrage - the New York Time's description of the Federal Agent's initial impetus is truly disturbing. If you have any interest in recovery or running or prison or simply well written memoirs - then take a chance with this one.
"Fantastic, But One Tiiiiny Thing--"
Talk about a man on a mission! Plus, this has got to be one of the most hardcore memoirs of addictions' strangleholds on a human being. Charlie Engle has been in the dust, mud, and mire in the hell of untold demons.
Well, actually, here he tells you, and if you ever thought there was an ounce of romance in the experience of addiction, no, you'll never see that driven creative again. Here there is only pain and misery and Engle overcomes almost insurmountable odds to regain his life.
He is an extraordinary man, and you'll be blown away by the challenges he undertakes, the amazing adventures he has in pushing himself to the limits, in his truly excellent friendships, everything.
My only problem with "Running Man" is that he sometimes comes off as a "dry drunk", someone in dire need of A Meeting. He drives himself, drives others, with such a lack of consideration that it's sometimes mind-blowing: Give people a break; let them be human. And he constantly bemoans the fact that he's, "not there" for the people he loves. He's either an addict, or somewhere doing a race. When he's in prison and his family desperately needs him, you think, "Ah, he's finally getting it. Family is where it's at! Love is what matters." But no. Then his mother needs him desperately, and he has to say, "Uhm... Wish I could be there, but I kinda signed up for a race..."
Still and all, this is an enormously engaging memoir, fraught with highs and lows, a journey of a lifetime!
What? I'm the only 2nd person to review this book? It's a must read! I actually listened to it twice.
I've listened to a lot of memoirs but they are usually by politicians heavily edited by a government first.
This is an awesome adventure story!
The first time I listened to it, I thought it was so dam good I had to listen to it again...
It was then that I heard the layers of dysfunction bleed thru. This guy tries to convince us that he has learned about life by admitting his down falls and failings thru his experience of life. Yet, he seems to continue to think that he is always right but has learned to say sorry when wrong or (perceived wrong). Admittedly, his main means of therapy consists of 12 steps; a great starting place. But it's obvious that he has darker issues never really dealt with. Part of the reason why I enjoyed this book so much.
His message of truly learning life thru pain and fear is very poignant. I especially enjoyed/cringed how he verbally abuses others in his adventures to get this message across; very passive aggressive of him. But he sugar coats all of this with his outreach to humanity.
No tongue in cheek. This is a great book on so many dysfunctional/psychological levels. Plus, it's an incredible adventure book. I can't believe more people haven't listened to it.
"Inspiring life story!!!"
I loved this story! I also enjoyed the fact that the author was the reader! Charles is a great inspiration!
"Not your ordinary running book."
This book is a fantastic adventure from addiction to ultra marathons across the globe. You don't have to be a runner to appreciate the determination Charlie Engel brought to his life and his sport. Very inspiring!
"Wow. Even better than expected."
Been a fan of Charlie for years and own Running the Sahara & Running America. I could not stop listening to this book.
Love that Charlie read it!
"Be encouraged! Great listen!"
Charlie's crazy, and his life's story is an encouragement to all who listen....The Sahara fckn desert, are you kidding me...lol
I am 51 and a avid reader. Like everyone, life has dealt me a roller coaster. You Charlie have given me hope that I am going to achieve to be the man I want to be. Rocky Balboa was a fictional character that I drew strength from when my inspiration was low. You are my real life Balboa. An amazing story that I will take with me for a very long time. Thank you for your honesty and inspiring me to do the same. Charlie read this audiobook himself and believe that he made not only the smart decision but the best decision. Thank you for sharing your story and giving me the strength to become a better person.
This is such a great book, easy flowing and somewhat suspenseful! Never a dull moment, and so many life lessons, I want to start over and listen to it again! Thank you Charlie!
I have to say this is one of the best books I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. Charlie's story is at times funny, eye opening and motivating. I could picture his story as he read it, imagined all of the scenes and rooted for him during the story. If you are looking for a book that is written well and told marvelously the. This is that book. I double dog dare you to give it a listen and you will not be disappointed at all!
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