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Running Man

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,335 ratings  ·  151 reviews
Charlie Engle’s “fascinating account of the high and low points of his life as an ultramarathon runner…is uplifting and inspirational” (Publishers Weekly) as he describes 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
ebook, 304 pages
Published September 13th 2016 by Scribner
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Amir This guy is elite. If you see yourself running ultras, there's a lot here that's of value. I'm just really enjoying the guy's personal story, as well …moreThis guy is elite. If you see yourself running ultras, there's a lot here that's of value. I'm just really enjoying the guy's personal story, as well as the way he tells it. One of the concerns I had going into the book was that the author would come across as smarmy, but that's isn't the case at all. You get the good and the bad, his strengths of character and his profound flaws. Readers won't learn about technique or how to train for a race, but there is a lot to extract from here about confronting mental hardships during tough moments in a race.(less)

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Average rating 4.19  · 
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 ·  1,335 ratings  ·  151 reviews

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Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is not only an autobiography but a well written autobiography (that doesn't always happen.) Not once did this feel long. I didn't know anything about the author before picking up this book. After reading this, I can't say I liked him as a person, but his story certainly made me think.

We all have the thing (or things) that makes us tick, and he found his.....both the good and the bad. This felt honest and I liked the humor as he journeyed through divorced parents, drug addiction, runni
Dec 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Where do people get their motivation, energy and stamina? Here's a guy who was not satisfied running marathons, so he had to run ultra marathons and run through Death Valley and run through the Sahara. And I can barely get myself to the gym for a little stroll on the treadmill. This was a fascinating account by a man who fought addiction to alcohol and crack cocaine, and rose to educate himself, start a business, succeed and fail, and serve time in prison for a completely screwy charge, and stil ...more
Edwin Howard
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
RUNNING MAN by Charlie Engle is an refreshing raw and unfiltered look at someone who lives with addiction. Charlie Engle describes how he got easily addicted to alcohol and drugs early in life and from them on is always fighting those demons. He discovers running, and shifts what seems like a mandate of his soul to be addicted to something and becomes addicted to running and adventure racing.
Told with a raw and a gritty realism, RUNNING MAN is an inspiration not only to runners, but to anyone w
Claudia Turner
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another top running book, right up there with “Born to Run” and “Ultramarathon Man”. All of these books have one thing in common and that’s writing about more than running. Engle is really and honest. He talks about struggling with addictions and the steps he had to take to overcome the mindset and habits that kept him from recovery. He talks about crazy epic survival races and time in jail due to an insane IRS agent (if you’re like me you’ll google the agent trying to plot revenge). I’ve read s ...more
Terri Schneider
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is an authentic and honest account of an intensely driven life. Whether one agrees with, likes, connects, empathizes (or not) with Charlie's life and how it plays out, we can not deny it has been a wild, intriguing ride and that he is a deeply feeling and talented person. I applaud his ongoing desire to bare himself in an effort to support and inspire others. That value is far reaching. Thanks for sharing! Great work. ...more
Kristin Ogburn
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway. It was a fascinating memoir! I enjoyed reading about ultramarathon endurance training/ racing and was interested to learn how the author overcame his drug addiction and survived his stint in prison for mortgage fraud! As the Wash Post describes him, "from addict to runner to prisoner to writer..." I need to watch his"Running the Sahara" documentary now. ...more
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
Should’ve DNF’d this book. I noticed shortly after finishing this book that this guy’s personality rubbed off on me a little and that’s not a personality anyone would want! I wanted to be inspired as I’m running my first marathon next year but now I’m just hoping he won’t be running the same marathon as me! If you want to be inspired, read one of Dean Karnazes’ books.
Lisa Bricker
Dec 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
I am amazed by Engle's endurance and passion. The problem is, I don't think I'd like him if I met him. Unfair? Probably; but it's true based on my reading of his autobiography. ...more
Garrett Millbrooke
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Charlie Engle, an ultramarathon runner, adventure racer, and former drug addict has a life story that you will not believe. Reading this book was a crazy mixture of feelings, from sadness to gratitude and laughs. After reading this remarkable story, I want everyone to read it, doesn’t matter if you like to run or not. This story that Engle shares can help and teach people life lessons that could save you. Reading this book has taught me that life is not easy, and you have to be very resilient to ...more
Sam Schroder
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was the perfect read in the lead up and over the weekend of Ultra Trail Australia. Engle tells the story of his passion for running, his evolution from recreational runner to marathon runner to the discovery of ultra marathons and challenge races. With Matt Damon narrating, he ran, and filmed a documentary about, crossing the Sahara Desert. And there’s plenty more to his interesting story and his writing and narration were really engaging. I won’t ever attempt to run across America like Eng ...more
Isa Brown
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To be honest - after finishing Kathrine Switzer's "Maraton Woman" I just wanted to read an other book wrote by a runner. This book was just a random choice, without any previous knowledge about its content. I was stunned, how good this book is, how interesting and involving. Every day I just couldn't wait to go back to the lecture. I love the story I love the way it is written and I love the fact I could experience this Audiobook read by the Author. This it the best book on my shelf this year. ...more
Amy Johns
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Inspiring story and good journalistic style. Somewhat repetitive and occasionally slow. Definitely cheering for Charlie.
Jeff Wilson
I think this book was really interesting and I found it to be very motivational. The book had great meaning and good life lessons.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! Charlie Engle is a true inspiration. What really stood out to me about Charlie:
- Ability to remain positive in the face of unjust imprisonment
- Eventual focus on family & connections
- Refusal to give up, but able to recognize when to stop and recover
- Great writer
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really good book. I love hearing all the back stories on ultra runners. Brutally honest memoir.
A rollicking, fast-paced read that frequently leaves you running short of breath. I devoured this book and was genuinely let down when I got to the last page. I particularly enjoyed his Beckley Badwater experience and could vividly picture the inmates watching on, offering support and encouragement. A simply amazing story that won't be forgotten. ...more
Matthew Brewer
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the book. It was great to see Charlie recall his experiences and how everything has shaped his life. It is not a running book but rather it highlights his personal struggles and how running has always served as a foundation for him. I would recommend this book.
Nov 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great memoir about how Charlie turned to running to overcome addiction and drug abuse. Honest and forthcoming.
Abigail Hogle
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-reads
Best memoir I’ve ever read. Absolutely stunning! Please read!!!
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
A memoir of a man who fell for alcohol and drugs, got clean, got serious about running, tried to see how far he can go, and then became (he claims) unjustly incarcerated for fraud.

Engle's booze and crack stories are crazy enough to make you wonder how much truth there is to them. The running parts are short enough to not be boring. One of the chapters is dedicated to his quest to run across america, with co-runner Marshall Ulrich. Ulrich has written entire book about this run, Running on Empty:
Mar 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Very inspiring! Charlie is an interesting guy, and has led quite a life. I didn't realize who he was at first, but as I was listening, I realized I had watched Running the Sahara last year. Then shortly after realized that he was in jail After that time! What a crazy ride he has had. I couldn't relate to his running skills, since it seems he's pretty much been running his whole life.

I didn't get much information from him on technique, but did learn that those ultra races are NEVER easy - even f
Mike Nguyen
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Awesome story and it comes with lots of emotional touches. It's not just a book about endurance running (even through it's nuts and may not applicable to any of us), it's about the desire to achieve outstanding performance and strong characters as well as ability to transform pain and suffering to the the energy that fuel the endurance.

What I admired the most is the pure spirit of giving all in, the courage to put everything for chasing his dream and believe in faith. It is certainly lots of un
Kitvaria Sarene
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, running
It's a memoir, not a book just about running.

So there was a lot of the authors backstory to get through before I actually made it to the "running parts" of the story.

The author is an addict, both of alcohol and drugs, and the start of the book focuses a lot on him trying to reach sobriety, about his family life and work life and so on.
That parts weren't the most interesting things I've ever read, but written well and fluent enough I still kept reading at a steady pace.
Later when the book actuall
Arianna G.
Nov 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Hmmm... I love running autobiographies and thinking about what drives the sport. I've really enjoyed the Dean Karnes books (sp?) and "why we run" etc. This book was okay, but I didn't take anything special from it. Every obstacle the author faced was self-imposed, and he seemed to run (later in life) not from the pure pleasure (he does a beautiful description of the joy of running early in the book (as a boy during a storm), but from the urge to just "feel" ANYTHING.

Also, it's hard to deny that
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Finished the book in one sitting. It is a gripping and easy read that covers the spectrum of human endeavor (Yes it is not just about running and those reviews that complain about it, should have read the book jacket before picking it up. The advance praise section can be deceptive!).

I would have given it 5 stars except for the niggling question - to what extent is this Meg Lukens Noonan's storytelling and style that made it such a good read.

Also, without giving away any spoilers -- there is a
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: running
Charlie Engle certainly tells an engaging story and proves inspiration at the same time. This book never got boring as Engle kept the story going and never got bogged down at any one place. I considered his story to be really three stories. The first is his battle with drug abuse. I am amazed that he lived to tell about this. He is brutally honest about his struggles and mistakes. Next is the story of his endurance races around the globe. Most fascinating was his run across the Sahara Desert. Ju ...more
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another book where a person trades an unhealthy addiction for a healthy one. Relatively well written, enjoyable and yet incomprehensible how someone runs hundreds of miles daily in 130 heat. Of course, none of us with different brain chemistry really understands addiction in any form. The whole mortgage issue landing him in jail is interesting (need to learn more about his situation and any others like him). If it is as simple a situation as it was portrayed it is absolutely frightening and spea ...more
Aug 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t know how I stumbled upon this audio book, but I’m glad I did. I enjoyed listening to the author narrate his story. It’s an interesting story about his life as an addict and alcoholic and how running helped in his recovery process. I had seen the documentary about his run across the Sahara Desert several years ago, but did not realize he had written a memoir. I am fascinated by stories about overcoming difficult obstacles, even if they are self-imposed, and especially fascinated by ultra- ...more
Jefferson Searle
Jun 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting book about an ultra-marathoner, someone who enjoys running hundred mile races. His intro to running, his addictions, his sobriety. Running across the Sahara Desert. A few documentary films. Being incarcerated for what other people did, and a few dumb comments of his, during the fall out from the mortgage/sub-prime lending crisis. Well done. Compelling. Inspirational. He has a reputation for being a bit of a jerk (short tempered etc.) among some other runners, and he goes soft on that ...more
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I started this book at a dark time in my life. Put it down. Not because of the book, but life got in the way. Picked it back up when it was time to pick myself up off the floor. I dove back in. Charlie's story, challenges and his description of how he started to put the pieces together inspired me. Got me back on my bike with a different attitude. I feel confident that I have what it takes to go long and push myself. I want to do an ultra event to test myself, see how far I can go. All because o ...more
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