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 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.
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.
SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!
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!
I've heard Charlie Engle do a couple Podcast episodes with Rich Roll. He's well spoken and hearing him narrate his own story made it that much better. His delivery and timing are great and you get a sense that he's honest and sincere but doesn't take himself too seriously.
The entire story is memorable. It's a story of re-birth, of discovery and of finding ones-self. What's not to like? I think his honesty about addiction and recovery, about bad decisions and ultimately about making peace with what one can no longer control (i.e. the past, the government, the law) is a testament to a sober existence and really just living an epic life instead of just giving up.
The moment when he was running to "get the poison out" and pushing himself till he basically gave out after having accidentally drunk some alcohol at a friends house was really well written. Really very descriptive of how I could see that event playing out in real time. The moment of realization and then just shrinking out the door without saying goodbye. Maybe it's because I can relate to how even in our most careful & obsessive moments, we still can't control everything. It's like, yup, that just happened. I don't like it, I didn't plan it or want it...It's a stark reality of living in a fallen state but trying to humbly live in submission to God.
Listen to the book.
What a crazy, twisty turvy story from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs. This was the best audio book I have ever listened to. I appreciate that the author read it himself. It felt so real. I could visualize everything he was saying and empathized with his struggles. Super amazing book. Not about running, but the journey. Thank you!
Really enjoyed the this book from start to finish. I think anyone, being a runner or not, can take something positive from this story. Awesome that Charlie Engle narrates this book, it really helps you connect with the story!
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.
Inspiring story from a man who has lived life to the full... I'm now going out for a run. Brilliant.
Great biography; engaging, honest and inspiring. Just waiting to be made into a film. Highly recommended.
"An Inspiring book"
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...
"Great story of a colourful life"
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...
"Truly inspirational, well worth a listen"
I was unsure as to whether I would like the book when I started listening. I found the voice of the narrator (Charlie, the author) a bit droll but soon realised it was not droll but filled with the emotion from the experiences and tribulations throughout his life, making it more of an experience rather than just a story.
A truly inspirational man with some amazing achievements under his belt not only in running but recovery, perseverance and forgiveness. A recommended listen.
This was a book that has many ups and downs. It's a book that had me laughing and crying, feeling every emotion under the sun. Very good read.
A truly inspirational true story. A riveting listen, read by the author himself. Didn't want to stop listening.
"Fast moving and very interesting"
This audiobook moves forward with every sentence. Great performance of the author as a reader. Highly recommend.
"Entertaining, Moving, Extreme, Loving, Memorable"
I only had the audible version of this book. However, I enjoyed the way the story was told by the author and subject of the book.
To pick a single moment is very difficult in this particular book - I think what I enjoyed the most was the rollercoaster like way the story followed some pretty extreme ups and downs, from drug dens in one chapter to running right across the Sahara in another - as I say, extreme ups and downs.
I have not listed to or read any other books by Charlie Engle.
Yes. If my pesky job didn't get in the way I would have happily smashed through the book in a single sitting.
Although the book is (in part) about running, non-runners should not be put off. I feel the book is more about overcoming adversity and turning negatives in to positives. To simplify the book as a running book for runners only, would be a shame.
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