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Running Man: A Memoir Hardcover – 13 September 2016

4.8 out of 5 stars 72 ratings

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"Whether surviving the pain of ultra marathon running or of incarceration, this is a story of redemption and courage in the face of adversity. "--Mary Gadams, Founder, RacingThePlanet, 4 Deserts Race Series

"Harrowing."--The New York Times

"Running Man is a fascinating story about a man who has shattered the limits of human endurance and lived life on the edge."--Dean Karnazes, endurance athlete runner and best-selling of author of RUN! 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Blissand Ultramarathon Man

"Running Man will make you cry, laugh, cheer out loud, redefine what you think is possible and leave you in awe. Most of all, it is a powerful and unfailingly authentic testimony to something we all share -- what it means to be truly human."--Rich Roll, endurance athlete, best-selling author of Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself

"Riveting. Running Man gets at the heart--better than anything I've ever read about endurance sports--of what compels a person to compete in the world's toughest foot races. Charlie probes his own life and psyche with remarkably honesty, offering the reader a portrait of a world class athlete, but also an addict, an inmate, a son, a father and a man committed to his own sobriety and sanity. Thanks to this book I finally understand what drives the spirit of ultra runners."--Chris Kostman, Chief Adventure Officer and Race Director AdventureCORPS, Inc.

"Running Man is a fascinating read, proving something I always believed, that running is the ultimate faith healer, restoring belief not only in oneself but in life's possibilities."--Bart Yasso, author of My Life on The Run and Chief Running Officer at Runners World

"Ignore the title of this book, the cover shot of its author, along with his staggering running resume. For this is not a book about running, but rather a tale about human capacity: for misery, for self-destruction, for rebirth, for redemption, for grace, and most importantly, for love. This one's got it all."--Caleb Daniloff, author of Running Ransom Road and co-author of November Project

"First-time author Engle's fascinating account of the high and low points of his life as an ultramarathon runner is written with cinematic quality...uplifting and inspirational."--Publishers Weekly

"Running Man is a captivating insight into how Engle forged the ability to conquer the impossible by overcoming physical and mental challenges so brutal they would break most people." --Joe De Sena, Founder & CEO, Spartan Race

"A fast-paced, well-written account of a man who accepts pain, pushes beyond imagined limits, and ultimately finds redemption and peace."--Booklist

"[A] turbulent journey from addiction to recovery to sports world fame."--New York Post

"Running Man is Charlie Engle's rigorous and humane reckoning with his own extraordinary life. It follows him to wondrous and painful places--from triumphant determination on Andean peaks to desperation on the streets of Wichita, from camaraderie in the middle of the Gobi desert to despair and community in a West Virginia federal penitentiary.

Engle is a man drawn to the sensation of pushing himself fully, and he's found various kinds of extremity in all sorts of places--in a crack pipe and in a brutal four-month run across the length of the Sahara. He has also found himself, in powerful ways, in ordinary relationships--in partnership and fatherhood--and this book is a moving account of his attempt to reconcile his hunger for extremity with his commitments to the ones he loves.

Engle reports on the difficult and joyous places to which his suffering has delivered him, but he reports on them with wit, and candid self-interrogation, and genuine curiosity. He never takes himself too seriously, but he does take seriously the questions of where we find meaning and freedom, as well as the question of what might grant him--or anyone--the sense of a life well-lived."--Leslie Jamison, New York Times bestselling author of The Empathy Exams

"An open tale of one mans battle with two addictions. When he finally puts the substance addiction in check, the power of the human spirit shines and his need to run prevails!"--Matt Long, author of The Long Run

About the Author

Charlie Engle is a world-renowned ultra-marathon runner, having won or placed in some of the planet's most punishing long-distance footraces. In 2007, Matt Damon produced and narrated Running the Sahara, a film about Engle and his successful bid to become the first person to run 4500 miles across the Sahara Desert. Engle has been featured in Men's Journal, Outside, National Geographic Weekend, Oxford American, Runner's World, The Huffington Post, PBS's Need to Know, NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and NPR's All Things Considered. He lives in North Carolina.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Scribner Book Company (13 September 2016)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1476785783
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1476785783
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 15.24 x 2.54 x 22.86 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 72 ratings

About the author

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I try not to take myself too seriously despite the fact that I undoubtedly take on serious challenges. I love adventure and I am fueled by testing myself to do things that push the far reaches of my ability, both physically and mentally. My chosen endeavors sometimes seem impossible and are often wrought with pain and even failure. Yet I’ve discovered that if I employ humor and laugh in the face of grim circumstances, I will survive and even enjoy almost anything.

I’ve run across deserts, summited ice-covered volcanoes, swam with crocodiles and served a stint in federal prison. But my greatest challenge is the one I take on every single day—sobriety. I have been clean and sober since July 23rd, 1992. While my daily urge to drink and use drugs has waned over the years, I still struggle with the addict that lives inside of me. It took me a long time to figure out that I can not, and should not, kill my addictive nature. Instead, my challenge has been finding a way to use the addict in me for positive, purpose-driven pursuits.

My list of pursuits is long and diverse. I’ve bounced around the world and continue to bounce around inside of my own ideas, searching for the “next thing”...

But it is fair to say that running, and running far, is at the core of my vitality and enduring sobriety. It lays a foundation for goals that keep me focused and it gives me the freedom of movement that I love. It keeps my body and mind sharp, and it refines and smoothes out my most jagged edges. Each time I run hundreds of miles, I learn something new about myself and even about the world.

Running has allowed me to explore the far-reachinug corners of the globe and meet amazing, diverse people. I have found that even in cultures that generally distrust strangers, people are more likely to welcome me if I am on foot. It somehow makes me less threatening, perhaps more human. Most cultures understand running as a part of their daily lives. It is something that shines a light on how we are the same and briefly dims how we are different. When I run, I always feel connected to others and that is truly what I love about my life.

Last year, I finished writing my first book. It is a memoir titled Running Man. With the disclaimer that I am not giving life advice: I often joke that if you do enough crazy things and too often find yourself in the heart of bizarre, improbable and sometimes dire circumstances, someone might just pay you to write a book! I can say in all seriousness that writing this book was one of the toughest things I have ever done. While hunched over messy piles of paper and my laptop, I’d sometimes say to my wife that running a hundred miler that day would be easier than finishing another chapter. Having said that, I love writing. I enjoy the creative journey of crafting words on a page and I find great satisfaction in putting the final punctuation marks on something I’ve written. I want to write more, and I will. I’ve decided that my line going forward is: I’m an addict who runs and I’m a runner who writes.

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S. Barratt
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book about a personal quest to change life style.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great
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