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Running Man

A Memoir
Narrated by: Charlie Engle
Length: 10 hrs and 25 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (196 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

What listeners say about Running Man

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Confronting and motivating

I listened to this whilst trying to put some length to my runs. Definitely succeeded, after hearing what’s capable.

1 person found this helpful

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Inspiring and jaw dropping

Incredible story, well written and insanely inspiring. I’ve never read or listened to a book more than once, but this book I re-read multiple times. It’ll make you want to run more and quit your addictions, at least that’s how I felt.

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WOW... What a life, what a book

what a great listen, i could not stop litsting to the amazing life this man has had!

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Fantastic

I didn't want it to end and couldn't wait to get in the car each day to listen

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Pure awesome

One of the best reads out there. Totally absorbing. Even if you know nothing about running, addiction or even prison; this is a riveting book on the power of determination and a positive outlook.

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Great listen

A truly entertaining life story. He found a way through battles to become someone special.

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What an amazing journey

You are inspiring. God bless you and you family. Run safe and look after yourself.

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Brilliant

I listened to the book while commuting, what normally takes 4 hours barely seemed like 1. The book transported me to the scenes, inspired me to act, inspired me to look beyond. Inspired me to cultivate a relationship with me while finding connections with like minded individuals around the world! I loved every word, they were filled with emotion!

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Enjoyable.

Fascinating and easy to listen to. Got through it in 3 sittings. Around hour 3 I struggled a little bit as the relentlessness if his addiction was being told but then...I couldn't turn it off.

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inspirational

so relatable and human. You grow to love the author more and more with his honest story telling and great personality.

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  • Ric Walton
  • 22-03-2017

unexpectedly excellent book

I didn't expect much from this. I loved Running the Sahara so I gave this book a shot. It is an excellent autobiography and an excellent running book.
Frankly the addiction portion was difficult to get through because of the bad life choices that were made, but it made the contrasting portion so poignant.
I highly recommend this book !

5 people found this helpful

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  • Gillian
  • 09-11-2016

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!

19 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel
  • 22-09-2016

Psychotic-Narcissistic-Thriller Adventure!

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.


14 people found this helpful

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  • Patrick
  • 17-09-2016

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.

6 people found this helpful

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  • C. Postma
  • 01-02-2017

Human struggle super human triumph

Would you consider the audio edition of Running Man to be better than the print version?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Running Man?

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.

Which scene was your favorite?

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.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Sure.

Any additional comments?

Listen to the book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Darren Christensen
  • 14-04-2017

one of the best

I don't write it enough reviews but I couldn't help not this one. this is an amazing book a true of Overcomers manual.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Shannon Eagle
  • 06-08-2018

Lovely

Totally enraptured by this story of pain and of triumph, dedication all told so rawly and with a touch of humor.... at times I feel like I can hear him smile. Inspirational. You are rooting for this man for good reason.

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  • Dmitry Rubinstein
  • 15-04-2018

A brutally honest and captivating memoir

What did you love best about Running Man?

The author does not hide anything, and spreads before us the depth of the abyss into which his addiction has brought him, and later, when sober, doesn't hide the manic strength with which he drives himself and those around him when an endurance project is at stake. Author also realizes that sometimes one performs amazing feats of endurance without really having a good reason to do it, hoping to find the reason in the process, and, basically, running away from one's own problems: addictions, inability to build proper relationships with one's family, etc. It all really makes one think about the choices one does with one's own life.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Charlie Engle?

Probably not: there was a certain charm in hearing the story from the author, but his is not a very rich voice, or full of expression.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Not sure I would: parts of it are quite hard to hear, and take some processing, listening it all in one sitting would be a bit too much.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Heidi
  • 22-04-2017

Everyone needs to suffer

This was a fascinating book. Tons to think about and be thankful for! It's great

3 people found this helpful

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  • Charlie A
  • 11-08-2020

Great read about an amazing journey

I read a lot of ultra running books and I had a feeling this one would be different. It was and in a very good way.

First, Charlie does not hold back. He gives you his story in its raw form. Whether you like it or not, his addictive personality is told to where you understand his troubles.

His life story is quite extraordinary and he does an amazing job of weaving his races within the book to where you feel every aching step.

Kudos to you Charlie. You are right, after watching ‘Running the Sahara’, I did think you were not a nice guy. But after your book I can see your side of the story.

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  • MR P G JEREMIAH
  • 21-09-2016

Brilliant!

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.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Marcus
  • 04-11-2016

Inspiring

Inspiring story from a man who has lived life to the full... I'm now going out for a run. Brilliant.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Bhoy1888
  • 23-06-2019

Excellent and inspiring.

I found this book after listening to David Goggins and the likes. A thoroughly enjoyable read/listen with an honest outlook on his life and consequences.

I have been trying to get myself to do a triathlon but constantly making excuses why I haven't. If nothing else it's reminded me that I should just get off my ass and continue to run, strive for more.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mr Me
  • 11-10-2016

Brilliant

Great biography; engaging, honest and inspiring. Just waiting to be made into a film. Highly recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anthony
  • 05-10-2016

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...

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mr Doinks
  • 09-01-2019

A Fantastic Listen

Charlie Engle shares his story and it is for me and I've listened and read a lot, about tales of adversity, adapting and overcoming hardship. The best audio book I've listened to. It's moving, well written and offers a fascinating and captivating insight into Charlie's life - drugs, running ultra marathons, addiction and ultimately winning. If you are reading my review, please get the book. Honestly you will not regret it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • David L. Hamilton
  • 04-10-2016

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...

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-09-2020

Beautiful story about hope and never giving up

What an amazing candid story. Beautifully written and heartbreakingly honest. It’s a testimony to the human spirit, endurance and commitment to writing your own ending, even in the tough times.
Loved this book

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-09-2020

really enjoyed this

My favourite audio book.
the story is fascinating and I was sad to see that it was going to end and delayed listening to the last 2 chapters so I could put off the inevitable.
enough said.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 29-07-2020

Loved it!!

Gotta push through the addiction phase and then story unfolds! Awesome listen and highly recommended to any endurance athlete.