Meet Charlie Engle
My name is Charlie Engle and I am an adventure athlete and an ultra distance runner and cyclist. I’m excited to be part of the One Team One Fight family, lending my support and raising funds for this worthy organization. Due to my running and racing, I became friends with many current and former members of the military, so I learned firsthand of the sacrifices they made. This knowledge greatly influenced my choice of One Team One Fight as a partner for my upcoming race, the Furnace Creek 508 (www.the508.com).
Over a lifetime of racing, I have competed in dozens of major events around the globe, including 3 Eco Challenges and 3 Raid Gauloises (Borneo, New Zealand, Fiji, Tibet, Nepal, Vietnam, Ecuador) adventure races. In 2000, I completed the Hawaii Ironman World Championship. In 2003, I won the prestigious 250K Gobi March, a 7 day stage running race across the Gobi Desert. I followed that up the next year with a second place finish in the Atacama Crossing in Chile. Next was a third place finish in the United States 24 Hour National Championship, running 135 miles in 24 hours. Next I won the title at The Jungle Marathon, a 7 day race through the heart of the Brazilian Amazon Jungle. Another win at the Gobi March, a second place finish in Costa Rica and a third place finish in Mauritania set the stage for my most ambitious undertaking, a record breaking run across the Sahara Desert. One of my favorite races is Badwater, ranked as the hardest foot race in the world. I have managed to place in the top 5, five different times in the prestigious 135 mile in this prestigious race. I also enjoy the painful world of endurance cycling, completing the Furnace Creek 508 twice before. I am the current record holder for The Death Valley Cup, one of the worlds most coveted endurance titles. One of my goals for this year’s 508 is to break my own record in the Death Valley Cup. While I love the challenge of long expedition style racing, I have also run more than 100 regular marathons, triathlons and ultramarathons. To me, every event has its own vibe and I love to feel the energy of being surrounded by thousands of other racers. That is why I run and race. It makes me feel connected to the earth and to other people who are having their own unique experience. There is great power and camaraderie born in shared suffering.
In 2006, while working as a producer and camera operator for ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition, I decided it was time to see where running could really take me. I organized and led an expedition that would ultimately make me the first person, along with two teammates, to run the entire length of the Sahara Desert, a trek of more than 4,600 miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. I led my team through 111 days of running nearly 50 miles per day, without a single day off. I lost 35 pounds and all of my toenails. Maybe most painfully for me and everyone around me, was the fact that I only had 2 showers over the entire 111 days. Matt Damon narrated and executive produced a documentary film called RUNNING THE SAHARA which chronicled the expedition. The expedition was a fantastic experience for me but most gratifying for me was my co-founding, along with Matt Damon, of H2O Africa, a non profit organization that has raised more than 6 million dollars to build long term sustainable clean water solutions for the people of Africa.
In 2008, I planned, organized and ran another ambitious expedition by attempting to break the 30 year old (at that time) record for the fastest run across the United States. Another film, RUNNING AMERICA, was made, documenting my attempt to run 70 miles per day for 45 consecutive days. I did not break that record but I learned many lessons that have helped to shape my life. Now, I am ready to try again to break this record. My hope is to make my next attempt in 2014 and to bring much deserved attention to One Team One Fight along the way.
I have had an amazing life of adventure and I am grateful for that and for all of the friends I have made along the way. More importantly, as my experiences grew, I have learned to share my adventures by telling stories, to carry the message to others that we should all be looking for ways to test ourselves mentally, emotionally and especially physically. My philosophy is grounded in the denial of comfort and the need for suffering as an unlimited source of knowledge. Ultimately, suffering is the surest means to find happiness and fulfillment. I feel that only through facing both unexpected challenges and self-inflicted suffering with equal gusto can any of us truly become the person that we are meant to be.
I am a writer and a motivational speaker. The core of my message is always grounded in the belief that a good life is entirely dependent upon our ability to adapt to the ever changing circumstances that are randomly thrown at us. Our military service members live and breathe with this reality and I am proud to support One Team One Fight and their mission to ensure these warriors are cared for in their greatest times of need.