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Charlie Engle
Keynote Speaker

Charlie Engle

Charlie Engle is a global ultra-endurance athlete and the founder of the 5.8 Global Adventure Series, one of the most ambitious expeditions in modern history, trekking from the lowest to the highest points on all seven continents. He is also one of the most accomplished ultramarathon runners in the world, having placed in hundreds of races in dozens of countries. His incredible athletic ability was profiled in the film, Running the Sahara, narrated by Matt Damon. The documentary highlighted his historic, record-setting journey with his two teammates across the world’s largest desert, running more than two marathons a day for 111 consecutive days, for a total of 4,500 miles.

Charlie’s transcontinental run through deep sand and politically unstable countries remain one of the premier accomplishments in the ultra-endurance and adventure sports worlds. After crossing the Sahara and seeing the global water crisis first-hand, Charlie raised more than $6 million for clean water projects in Africa and helped establish an organization called H20Africa, now known as  Water.org, one of the largest water nonprofits in the world. Charlie’s memoir, Running Man, became a bestseller shortly after it was published in2016. While the book details his inspiring life story, it is about more than just running. It is about facing demons, overcoming impossible odds, keeping your sense of humor, and discovering the redemptive power of putting one foot in front of the other, even when you feel like you can’t keep going. His motivation to run and tackle extreme adventures stems from his battle with addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Charlie has been in recovery since July 23, 1992, and he credits a large part of his recovery to the purposeful devotion and emotional release he experiences while running. He has said that “Drugs and alcohol were my way out. Running was my way through.” Charlie is a dynamic speaker who has enthralled audiences around the world, from keynotes at the Boston Marathon and Google to the National Geographic Society, the United Nations, and the deck of a nuclear-class U.S. Naval aircraft carrier. He’s been featured in the New York Times, National Geographic Weekend, Outside, Runner’s World, NPR’s All Things Considered, Men’s Journal, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He lives with his wife, Astacianna Hatcher, in Durham, North Carolina. Charlie’s Areas of Expertise: Ultra-endurance athletics, addiction, and recovery overcoming adversity.