Famous Ultra Runner Sentenced To Jail For Fraud

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Jan. 11, 2011
  • Updated Jan. 11, 2011 at 7:54 AM UTC
Charlie Engle is going to prison for 21 months. Photo: Associated Press.

Charlie Engle is going to prison for 21 months. Photo: Associated Press.

He once ran across the Sahara Desert for charity.

Famed ultra marathoner Charlie Engle will need to hang up his shoes for a while. On Monday, Engle, who gained popularity for a charity fundraising effort that included a run across the Sahara Desert, was sentenced to Federal prison by U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Friedman for 21 months. Engle was found guilty of 12 counts of bank, mail and wire fraud. He was also involved in a real estate scam.

The prosecutor in the case had wanted a longer sentence for Engle. However, citing Engle’s clean record and 18 months of sobriety, the judge granted leniency.

“Obviously I would prefer not to be in this situation at all,” Engle said afterwards. “Considering the worst possible scenario, I’m grateful.”

Friends and relatives filed 120 letters of support for Engle. The judge noted that he had never seen so many in a case.

During the proceeding, Engle spoke to the judge, saying that he’d been “foolish enough to think [he] can change the world.”

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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