Running Man book talk: Charlie Engle

Two weeks, I went to my local bookshop, (shout out to Quail Ridge books), for an author signing….But not just any author signing. The ultramarathon runner, Charlie Engle was promoting his new book, Running Man. It was published earlier this year in September. I hate to admit, like Dean Karnazes, I did not know who Charlie Engle was until on Facebook, my mother told me a runner who just wrote a book was coming to our favorite bookstore. This intrigued me and I decided to go to the author event on a Monday evening.

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The bookstore was packed with avid runners and readers alike. Charlie started off the book talk by reading a few of his most compelling passages. He had a complex life with many trials and tribulations, mostly of his own doing. He leads a very big life, and does nothing halfway. The prologue of the book begins during his time in federal prison. If that isn’t an interesting start of a book, I don’t know what is. During the talk, Charlie openly shares some of his stories of being a drug addict, and the book going deeply into this part of his life. He explained that when he was trying to get this book published, he didn’t want it to be just another running book. Charlie had a lot more to say than another sports book. He struggled in his life and he wanted to share those experiences.

Many of you probably know of Charlie Engle from the Matt Damon produced Running the Sahara (2006) documentary. Before reading the book, or even going to Charlie’s book talk, I was not familiar with the documentary. With two other ultramarathon runners, Charlie ran more than 4,500 miles across the Sahara desert. Now, that I’ve seen the film and read the book, I can say there is only one chapter in the Running Man that covers his experiences in the Sahara. I enjoyed the chapter it covered though because I got more of an insight of the filming. The producers tried to create some drama at the end of the documentary, and made Charlie out to be a bad guy. Not really cool, but there are always two sides of every story.

After the book talk, we were able to wait in line to meet Charlie and have a copy of the book signed. I got the speak with him for a couple of minutes and told him of my running goals of running my first marathon in the next year or so. I got to take a photo with him! So cool! He wrote in my copy of Running Man more than just his signature, and I wondered what he wrote. I said goodbye, walked away, and then opened up the book. Charlie wrote ” Candice- Go ahead and enter that marathon. Happy running! -Charlie Engle.”

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Of course, I have to register for an upcoming marathon now. I currently have my eye on the Walt Disney World Marathon in January 2018 with my friend.

Overall, the book was fantastic and I highly recommend it to any runners, people that enjoy adventure, or people who are recovered addicts. This would be a great book to give as a Christmas gift.

Do you have any books about running you recommend?

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