Man runs for 27 straight hours to celebrate 27 years of sobriety

RALEIGH, North Carolina -- The man who ran across the Sahara Desert added another accolade to his running resume by finishing a 27-hour run through Raleigh's Dorothea Dix Park.

The run wasn't for money, medals or praise; it was to celebrate 27 years of being sober.

"After 27 hours of running, not surprisingly, I'm tired," said Charlie Engle. "I'm more just emotionally drained."



"He has so much fun," said Engle's son Kevin. "No one has more fun than my dad does. It is a testament to the fact that life is what you make it."

He ran for 27 hours, covering more than 100 miles, but said accomplishing this goal wasn't even close to the hardest thing he's had to overcome.

"The hardest thing I've ever done is get sober," he said. "It's so scary. It's life-threatening, life-changing. Running for 27 hours is nothing compared to that."

Just like on his road to sobriety, Engle said there were many times on his 27-hour run that he wanted to quit.

"It's very much like sobriety," he said. "A lot of times, people look at the big picture and say, 'Oh, I've got to be sober forever.' That's not how it works. You have to be sober today and focus on that. Tomorrow will get here soon enough."

"No one can believe it," said Justin Garrity a Rapid Response Administrator at Healing Transitions, a nonprofit that helps those with addiction during their recovery. "The guy ran across the Sahara Desert and now he's running for 27 hours. It's almost unfathomable, but then you come out and you actually see it and Charlie's talking to you. He's treating you like a normal person and you're talking about sobriety, recovery, running and life. Suffering together, it's a fantastic thing."



Engle doesn't run just for himself but for everyone at Healing Transitions, everyone battling addiction, and to raise awareness for the opioid crisis.

"I always want to remind myself how lucky I am to have survived while so many other people didn't," he said. "My job is to just live my life and to live the life that I can. If other people see that and they understand where I came from hopefully it gives them the realization that they can have that too."
Copyright © 2019 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.