Charlie Engle to Speak at RCRWC Event | News, Sports, Jobs

“Running Man” author Charlie Engle will be the keynote speaker at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11 at First Presbyterian Church following the annual River City Runners and Walkers Club awards banquet. (Photo courtesy of Charlie Engle)

PARKERSBURG — The River City Runners and Walkers Club is providing an opportunity for residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley and beyond after their annual awards banquet on Friday, Feb. 11 held for First Presbyterian Church on Juliana Street.

After the awards banquet, which begins at 5:30 p.m., “Running Man” author Charlie Engle, who was featured in the 2007 documentary film “Running the Sahara” narrated by Matt Damon, will speak at 7:30 p.m.

“He is one of the best ultra-distance runner marathoners in the world today,” said Carol Seely, RCRWC secretary. “Basically 40 countries he’s been through and he’s also been through the Sahara desert with two friends (Ray Zahab and Kevin Lin).

“He also had an addiction.”

“He had a cocaine addiction and it was very serious, but running helped him get through it. He’s been sober for over 28 years. That’s what drives him and keeps him going. challenge to do all these crazy adventures and push yourself to the limit.

Seely said it had been several years since the RCRWC had a keynote speaker. The main reason is that the awards ceremony is usually too long.

All current RCRWC members will be admitted free, but anyone else who wishes to attend can do so for $14.

“We are trying very hard to spread the word” Seely added. “We think a personality like him, people would be willing to travel an hour or two to see him.

“I don’t know if there are many opportunities like this to see him speak, unless it cost a lot of money to do it. We’re very excited about it.”

On his website – – he says his “biggest challenge is the one I face every day – sobriety. I have been clean and sober since July 23, 1992. Although my daily urge to drink and use drugs has diminished over the years, I am still struggling with the addict that lives inside of me. It took me a long time to realize that I couldn’t and shouldn’t kill my addictive nature.

“Instead, my challenge has been to find a way to use the addict in me for positive, goal-oriented activities. It’s fair to say that running, and running far, is central to my vitality and of my enduring sobriety. It lays the foundation for goals that keep me focused and it gives me the freedom of movement that I love.

Seely said RCRWC board member Scott Burnham had put together a list of potential speakers and Engle was the perfect fit.

“We’re putting him up at the Blennerhassett Hotel for two nights. The next morning after the banquet, Saturday the 12th, he agrees to go on a club run. Seely added. “Tell me that’s not cool. Who would like to run with a famous personality like that? We decided we couldn’t let him speak only to our club. We need to open that up to the community. This guy pretty much comes from the goodness of his heart.

“All members of the club or anyone who cares will become members (RCRWC). They are invited to come and meet Scott Burnham and Charlie Engle at the fountain outside the Lafayette Hotel at 9 a.m. this Saturday in Marietta and they are going to do a race. Anyone can go out. I don’t know how many kilometers they will do.

Any business or high school that may be interested in negotiating a group rate should contact Seely at 740-705-7182.

Contact Jay Bennett at [email protected]

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Joseph K. Bennett