And you thought Forrest Gump put in some miles.
But, in Charlie Engle's case, it was genetic.
"I grew up being told I was going to be a runner," Charlie says.
Perhaps because his grandfather, Dale Ranson, was the legendary track coach at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for decades. But also, because of the aptitude he showed as a kid.
"Leaves began to rattle in the wind. I felt one raindrop and then another, and then a wall of them," Charlie writes in his new memoir, "Running Man." "I started for home, darting between trees … the storm seemed to be on top of me, matching my pace, as I ran … I was soaked to the skin but I felt free and smooth and happy. I wasn’t scared of the storm – I’ll remember this always, I thought, the way it feels to run until you can’t run, anymore; the way it feels to not be afraid.”
Charlie says that, "Ever since I could walk, I was a free range kid."
And the world has been his range.
Charlie has run on all six inhabited continents - often, hundreds of miles at a time. The only thing running hasn't done to him (yet) is kill him. But it's tried.
Not just when he ran across the Sahara Desert (no need to go back, you read that right) but when that feat attracted the attention of an IRS agent who a New York Times reporter describes as hanging an awfully flimsy case of mortgage fraud on Charlie that ended up putting him in federal prison for a while.
It was there that he got the nickname, "The Running Man," which is the title of his memoir.
"Writing 'Running Man' was a thing that I think which was really brewing for a long time, for me. I've had some odd experiences in my life - sobriety - I had some stories to tell that I thought might be able to help some other folks see that sobriety is possible for anybody, sort of like if I could do it, they could do it."
See Charlie's story in this edition of the Buckley Report.
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