Running the Sahara

Theatrical Release: September 1, 2008
DVD Release: July 1, 2009
Running the Sahara


On February 20, 2007 Charlie Engle, Kevin Lin and Ray Zahab touched the Red Sea, just a few hours before sunset. Their quest had lasted 111 days and taken them through 6 countries: Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Libya, and Egypt. By the team’s daily GPS record, they had traveled over 4,300 miles (6,920 kilometers). They fought through injury and extreme fatigue to reach their goal, which changed them forever.

Dove Review

The three experienced runners, Charlie, Kevin and Ray make a pact with each other to run across the Sahara Desert. They are already friends who run together and they want to take this new challenge head on. They trained exhaustively for two years but nothing totally prepared them for the challenge of running across the desert and facing heat, cold, sand storms, injuries, and government problems as they try to finalize the last leg of the journey.

The group faces several tough decisions, such as whether the support team will leave the team before the end of the run. They face difficult situations including the threat of confronting terrorists. Charlie, the group’s leader has a forceful personality and demands much from the three runners and their helpers. They also have some joyful moments when children greet them during their run and brighten their spirits. One runner is about to give up but his encounter with the children and his wife’s urging encourage him to continue on.

We award our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to Running the Sahara. Viewers will believe that anything is possible after watching this fascinating and challenging documentary.

Content Description

Sex: Couples kiss; a man briefly pats his girlfriend's rear.
Language: S-9; H-3; G/OMG-4; D-1; S*cks-1; Friggin-1; Freakin-1
Violence: One runner becomes angry at team's helper and threatens to take it to the next level; they battle against violent wind storms in the desert; the talk of possible execution by hostile forces in the way of the runners' route.
Drugs: Drinks seen on screen but not consumed.
Nudity: Shirtless men; men and women wearing shorts.
Other: Tempers occasionally flare as the runners deal with various people over a period of 111 days; a man sings a song about a sexy woman but it is not racy.


Company: The Film Foundry
Director: James Moll
Genre: Documentary
Runtime: 103 min.
Starring: Matt Damon, Narrator - The runners, Charlie Engle and Kevin Lin and Ray Zahab
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter