Endurance News
April 23, 2017

Book Review: Running Man

Review by Alix J. Shutello

This well-written book is the journey of a loving father from struggling addict to accomplished endurance athlete. Readers will come away with a new perspective on addiction, perseverance, and forgiveness.

Running Man is not a story about running; it is the story of Charlie Engle’s addiction, and his road to redemption. Engle is a well-known endurance runner; and unlike other books about ultra-runners, his book is more about how his running career was shaped by events in his life.

Engle obtained the name “Running Man” by inmates, not running mates. After getting hooked on drugs and alcohol after college, his life became a roller coaster of ups and downs on the very long path to recovery. Engle, who married and fathered two sons during the height of his addiction, took enormous risks just to get high. His vivid recount of his mental struggles to stay clean are just as harrowing as his failures to keep away from his fix; his addiction drove him to extremes. Engle hopped into cars in shady neighborhoods, had guns put in his face, and even ended up in strange hotel rooms, gone for days without going to work or calling his family…and a near-death experience didn’t stop him, either.

It wasn’t until one of the many times he was back in rehab that Engle met with the right drug treatment counselor, who asked him the right questions and gave him the idea that running could be his salvation. Engle took the counselor’s advice – and slowly the drug addiction was replaced with a healthier one.

The first steps were difficult; but as Engle conquered the miles, he sweat the cocaine, crack and alcohol from his body. Soon, he was putting his efforts into running and not into drugs. Being clean meant reevaluating his life – including his marriage, which ended amicably. Engle then poured himself into his business of buying, flipping and selling homes, and continued running with a vengeance.

Engle decided to run across the Sahara Desert as partof his healing process. But soon, trouble began following Engle once again. His public running exploits across the country caught the interest of the IRS, who wondered how Engle could fund his trips without a full-time job. They looked into Engle’s business and found serious issues with loans he received – which would eventually land him in jail for 18 months. Engle was convicted of lying on mortgage forms to get funding to purchase homes. But he continued to run in prison…earning him the nickname, “Running Man.”

This well-written book is the journey of a loving father from struggling addict to accomplished endurance athlete. Readers will come away with a new perspective on addiction, perseverance, and forgiveness.

Buy the book on Amazon, Simon & Shuster, and/or Charlie’s website: www.CharlieEngle.com.

 

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