Last night my friend Ashley and I went to the Bethesda, MD screening of the feature film documentary “Running the Sahara.” The film, which is narrated by Matt Damon, follows three ultra runners in their quest to, as the title suggests, literally run their way across the vast Sahara desert, starting on the coast in Senegal and traveling all the way across Africa to the Red Sea in Egypt.
This feat required running the equivalent of nearly two marathons per day, for 111 days straight. They ran a total of about 4500 miles. Isn’t that insane?! I can’t even imagine how hard that would be.
One of the runners from the film, Charlie Engle, was there last night to introduce the film and to do a Q & A session afterwards. I got a picture with him 🙂
It was really interesting to meet him. As he told us during the introduction, he apparently used to be an addict in his twenties, literally living on the street at some points until he turned his life around. What an incredible story.
I’m seriously amazed by what these runners accomplished. I’d highly suggest you all check out this movie — it was so inspiring, not only in regards to running, but also from a humanitarian standpoint. After meeting and talking to the people of the Sahara along their journey, the runners were stunned by how much of a problem it is for them to get clean water. As a result, they started up a charity called H20 Africa, which is a clean water initiative aimed towards garnering awareness and support for integrated sustainable clean water programs in critical areas in Africa.
And if I weren’t already inspired enough… check out what Charlie wrote on my copy of the DVD (which we received as part of our ticket price):
I’ve always been an idealist; I love traveling because I find it fascinating to learn about other cultures, and I’ve always been drawn towards jobs where I feel like I’d be able to really make a difference in someone else’s life. Once I get my R.D. credentials, my dream would be to travel overseas to do some sort of humanitarian work like this for awhile. What’s your dream?
Oh, and in case you were wondering: they each went through about 25 pairs of sneakers during the journey, it only rained one day… and Charlie started running again a mere week after the expedition ended because he already missed it. 🙂