When Summerfield resident Charlie Engle accepted an offer to run across the Sahara Desert for a documentary film, he knew it was going to be produced and narrated by actor Matt Damon.
He had no idea, however, where the $3.2 million to produce "Running the Sahara" was coming from. As far as he was concerned, it could be some guy in Timbuktu.
Then he learned last week that one of the money men is Jim van Eerden, who lives next door to Summerfield in Stokesdale.
Engle departs today for Senegal on the west coast of Africa . On Wednesday, he and two other ultra-marathoners will begin the 4,000-mile run across the desert, where temperatures reach 130 degrees. No one has ever done it before.
Van Eerden said he and Damon will probably go to Africa near the end of Engle’s run.
The runners aim to reach the Red Sea in Egypt by Feb. 1.
The documentary will debut at the Toronto Film Festival in September before being released to theaters. Van Eerden hopes Greensboro will be a premiere site.