Ultra Marathoner Charlie Engle Runs 26 Hours To Celebrate 26 Years Sober

By Victoria Kim 07/26/18

Charlie Engle has been sober since 1992.

man running

Supporters cheered on ultramarathon runner Charlie Engle on Sunday, as he ran for 26 hours to celebrate 26 years of sobriety.

“It’s an unusual way to celebrate but for me, running was a lifesaver,” said Engle, according to ABC 11 News. He said he’s running to “show those people that are still out there struggling that there is another way.”

The 55-year-old adventurer and author of Running Man ran more than 100 miles in Dix Park in Raleigh, North Carolina, to spotlight Healing Transitions, a local recovery center. “We’re doing this three-mile loop out here around Healing Transitions, which is this amazing center here in Raleigh,” he said.

Engle says running changed his life, and it’s easy to start. “Just go for an hour long walk, 30 minutes out and 30 minutes back. If you make that a habit two or three days a week, it’s amazing how quickly your life will transform,” he said.

The ultramarathoner has been sober since July 23, 1992, according to his official website. Since then, he’s conquered all kinds of adventures. “I’ve run across deserts, summited ice-covered volcanoes, swam with crocodiles and served a stint in federal prison. But my greatest challenge is the one I take on every single day—sobriety,” according to his bio.

He’s also able to combine his love of running with his passion for recovery.

“While my daily urge to drink and use drugs has waned over the years, I still struggle with the addict that lives inside of me. It took me a long time to figure out that I cannot, and should not, kill my addictive nature,” he said. “Instead, my challenge has been finding a way to use the addict within me for positive, purpose-driven pursuits.”

In 2016, he participated in a 3,100-mile relay across the United States called the Icebreaker Run, to bring awareness to the need for better access to mental health treatment. He ran alongside five other runners who were all in recovery in some way.

Engle isn’t slowing down any time soon; he already has big plans for 2019. “I’m gonna go from the lowest place on the planet, which is the Dead Sea in Jordan, all the way to the top of Mount Everest—as a metaphor for addiction recovery. It literally is going from the lowest place to the highest. That’s my next big project.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr