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Summary

The hilarious trials and tribulations of stand-up comedian Paul Tonkinson as he attempts to beat the much lauded three-hour mark at the London Marathon. With a supporting cast of fellow comedians, this is a warmly written and wonderfully honest adventure-through-sport that will both entertain and inspire.

Along the way, we are introduced to the characters helping Paul with his quest. Celebrity names such as Bryony Gordon, Russell Howard, Roisin Conaty and Vassos Alexander pop up with wit and wisdom, alongside an alpine adventure to the Mayr Clinic with Michael McIntyre that pushes Paul to the limit. And not forgetting the ‘words of wisdom’ and derision from Paul’s anti-running friend, Richard.

©2020 Paul Tonkinson (P)2020 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Critic reviews

"I couldn't put it down....insightful, inspiring and laugh-out-loud funny!" (Michael McIntyre)

"This book is that rare thing - something that actually makes me want to run another marathon. Utterly joyous!" (Bryony Gordon) 

"The funniest book about running I have ever read. In fact it is the only book about running I have ever read, but it is hilarious!" (David Walliams)

What listeners say about 26.2 Miles to Happiness

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inspiring.

I discovered the Running Commentary a few months ago, training for my first marathon. learning that Paul Tonkinson was releasing a book on running sub 3 (my own personal goal) I knew I had to listen.
it was surprisingly touching, very personal in places and really revealing. it both explains Paul's need for running, and how he became a stand up comedian. I've been listening to this whilst training, and as I'm doing 55 miles per week at the moment have finished it in less than a week. I got quite emotional when he described his wife's face, and felt the euphoric high of the last chapter during a 6km recovery run. this is definitely a book I'll be revisiting. Fantastic.

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Amazing read!

Not only is this the best running book I've ever listened to (and there have been a lot), this is one of the best books of any type I've listened to. Paul's narration is fantastic, taking you on a journey of discovery and self fulfillment that is both inspiring and makes me want to run more. Highly recommended!

4 people found this helpful

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Don’t Judge a Book (Audio) by its Cover

For some reason the cover of this audiobook put me off downloading it for a long time?! No idea why. However, a fantastic audiobook. Great story telling, humorous, cleverly written. Not a runner myself (prefer being on two wheels) however this shouldn’t put you off listening!

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More please

Great book. Well written, funny, informative but certainly not self indulgent. Balance between amusing stories of his life, running talk and an overall smooth fluidity throughout.
Thanks PT.

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Just awesome

I loved this book and can't recommend it enough. I love the honesty and grit Paul possesses.

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Emotional roller-coaster in a good way

By far my favourite running book (and I've read/listened to a lot!).
The way Paul tells his story made the running journey so easy to connect with. This isn't a "how to" book, but it still may help you get through a marathon or other challenging event. Paul does drop in plenty of helpful tips from his experience.
If you have done events like marathons then you will probably find times that Paul is talking from within the race very emotional. I actually teared up at one of the chapters whilst out running and listening to this as I have been in very similar situations during races.
I'm aiming for sub3 this year and I think this book may be what I need, more than the specific training plan, to get me over that line in 2:59.

Thank you Paul for a very entertaining read.

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Great listen for both runners and none runners

Loved this book. Perfectly captured a man's personal journey to getting into the right headspace to run a marathon. Funny, touching and relatable to both runners and none runners. Highly recommend.

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Excellent book

If you’re planning to run a marathon don’t hesitate, just get this. Even if you don’t run, this may change your mind.

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Great book, highly reccomended!

Witty yet deeply personal account of a 48 year old comedian, dad and runner's goal to run a sub three hour marathon.

He is not afraid to talk about his personal demons throughout which is not easy for someone of our generation (yes, I a fellow 70s baby). This brought a real humanity to the account and something I could definitely relate to.

It is a witty and entertaining running book, I didnt realize that was possible until I listened to this one. Finally, I will never forget the bearded spectator or when one of his balls escaped, these are anecdotes that will always stick in my mind.

If you like running and enjoy a good laugh as well as a realistic account re the trials and tribulations of aiming for a challenging goal, then this book is for you!!

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Such an enjoyable listen!

As a runner I found this book very interesting. Parts funny and touching as Paul talked about why he ran and his childhood.

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  • Oscar
  • 12-12-21

Funny but not only

Comedy writer put together a book that goes beyond the funny to dive deeper into the emotions of training, racing, living. Good one.

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  • thegaijin
  • 08-06-21

Very good. Better than expected.

I love books about running and have binged on books by Vassos Alexander, Scott Jurek, etc. I held off buying this one because despite the positive reviews I thought it was mainly about someone’s crappy life being transformed by running and I didn’t much care. However I soon did care and although finding happiness through running is a part of it, there is no sob story here. Amusing, informative, was sad when it was over.

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  • Zach
  • 07-11-20

Recommended

As a middle aged avid runner this book was easy to relate to and an amazing story. Training guides are one thing, but hearing how and why a 47 year old, sub 3 hour marathon runner, fits marathon training into life and hearing the author's passing thoughts that give some logic and inspiration to running marathons make this book a worthy read.

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  • EH
  • 05-10-20

Kept me company on the Virtual London Marathon

I decided this book would accompany me on the Virtual London Marathon- as part of my training plan I was going to have to go pretty slowly for 26.2 miles and I predicted it would take around 6 hours.
This epic book kept me going, kept me motivated , kept me laughing like a maniac going past strangers and took me through the entire marathon , (each chapter happened to coincide with each mile I ran) completely entertained.
If you’ve ever done a marathon, or just starting out, this is a great book to take you through all of the “am I going mad” thoughts that you absolutely WILL have at some point and then inspire you to keep the dream alive, whether that’s finishing your first marathon or training for a specific time.
Well read, and thoroughly entertaining, it will inspire you to keep putting one foot int front of the other.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-09-20

Funny, motivating, epic.

What a great read. Training for a marathon myself which made it extra special. Even if not a runner, provides more context for all those crazy people that do it. A fantastic journey.

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  • Miles
  • 12-05-20

Relatable, Never Slow, Fun and Satisfying

I'm probably biased because I love listening to Paul Tonkinson and his fellow comedian Rob Deering every week and their running podcast "Running Commentary". Both are comedians. But having watched a few clips of both, I don't think I ever laugh so hard as the conversations they have spur of the moment running.

Paul is a northerner who doesn't seem the type to be really introspective. But he has an interesting history and life and I enjoyed hearing how that led into his cracks at running as a young person and again as he got older. I loved all the characters in his life like his friends and coaches. I'd already followed the specifics of his training in real time through the podcast but still enjoyed all the stories and anecdotes. I think most runners will identify with most of the ups and downs. But overall, even when it gets serious the book keeps a very positive and optimistic tone. And it's not about some amazing world class runner that no one can identify with either. Would absolutely recommend if you want one man's funny account of trying to hit a marathon goal. You might find plenty of parallels to your own life and your own running.