Reading Matters

Charlie Engle’s addictions: cocaine and running

I can’t compete with the verbs in the following paragraph, so I’ll let the New York Post reporter tell about Durham’s Charlie Engle, a world-renowned ultramarathon runner, whose memoir, “Running Man,” is just out.

“Early one morning in 1991, Charlie Engle paired his two passions: cocaine and running.

“Hours before the sunrise start of the Big Sur Marathon, Engel, then 28, packed his nose with blow in the men’s room of a bar in Monterey, Calif. Somehow, he made it to the start line of the notoriously hilly race. He puked at the halfway point and shotgunned a beer near the finish, but still managed to complete it in a very respectable time, just under 3 1/2 hours.

“Immediately after, he was looking to get high. ‘I drove to my dealer’s house while still in my running clothes.’ The pusher was shocked that Engle hadn’t had a heart attack. ‘Competing in one of the world’s toughest races while completely loaded is idiotic,’ Engle told the Post in hindsight.

One more year, and he quit using. He kept running, but his troubles weren’t over.

His memoir chronicles the time he spent in prison, the breakup of his marriage, a new relationship and the high it gives him to run with his two grown sons.