Charlie Engle is one of the most accomplished ultramarathon runners in the world and author of the riveting memoir Running Man. Engle has a track record of winning or placing in many of the toughest endurance foot races across the globe. He has raced in jungles, summited high ranging mountains and volcanoes, and traversed large expanses of deserts through sand storms.
The list of Engle's international races is long, but he is most well known for running across the Sahara Desert, from coast to coast, in 2007. Engle's historic and record setting journey was documented in the film Running the Sahara, narrated by Matt Damon. He was joined by two other runners: Ray Zahab of Canada and Kevin Lin of Taiwan. This transcontinental run through deep sand and politically unstable countries remains one of the premier accomplishments in the ultrarunning sport. The runners completed over 4,500 miles, averaging over two marathons per day, for 111 consecutive days.
Engle's motivation to run and tackle adventure to such extreme lengths stems from his battle with addiction to drugs and alcohol. Sober since July 23, 1992, he has credited a large part of his sobriety to the purposeful devotion and emotional release he experiences while running. Engle says that the sport, along with 12 step recovery meetings, yoga, and family and friends, has been a corner stone of not only his sobriety but of his quest to be a better, more-authentic and empathetic person.