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Summary

"We’re not at parkrun any more," I mutter to myself, quietly longing for the presence of nice marshals in high-visibility vests.

Failure Is an Option is the story of an average runner who sets out to discover just how far he can go. With the support (and misgivings) of his family, and aware that his quickest years are behind him, Matt Whyman leaves the Saturday morning 5K to push towards 100-mile ultramarathons and beyond. By slowing things down to run a very long way, he joins a growing number of men and women from all walks of life striving to do something extraordinary.

A newcomer to a world that can often seem off-limits, Matt finds his feet as an ultrarunner by learning the hard way. He battles monster hallucinations on endurance races spanning day and night, loses himself on tantalising trails across landscapes far from home, and forges bonds with fellow competitors in which small, kind gestures mean more than any medal. Determined to touch the boundaries of his running world before it starts to shrink, ultimately Matt sets his sights on a six-day mountain ultra that even hardened veterans consider to be the most formidable on earth: the Dragon’s Back Race.

Brimming with good humour, honesty, and joy, Failure Is an Option pits ambition against ability to uncover human truths that resonate with us all. A mid-pack competitor who could win prizes for enthusiasm–if nothing else–Matt takes us on a journey far beyond his comfort zone and with no guaranteed outcome of success. The results are entertaining from start to finish, often very funny and at times deeply moving.

©2022 Matt Whyman (P)2022 Vertebrate Publishing

What listeners say about Failure Is an Option

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Some good story but Largely Uninspiring

I enjoyed the story of the book and enjoyed listening to it overall. My only criticism is that, I normally look for more inspiration stories of triumph. I appreciate the point the author was trying to make from the title of the Book, but was left in a state of anti-climax. I listen to this on Long Runs as an Ultra Runner myself and found Whyman’s constant failure’s to be de-motivating and quiet honestly tiresome to listen to. I felt almost pity for Whyman rather than the “its ok to fail” attitude the book was going for.

Did I enjoy the book? Yes

Would I recommend? No-
There are better more inspirational stories out there to keep you slogging through the hard miles without what was at times, (lets be honest), a tough listen.

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Very funny and relatable

Brilliantly written and read - the whole thing was entirely relatable and very amusing at times. Nice to hear from an accomplished, yet not elite, ultra runner.

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Loved it

I don’t read a lot of books, or listen to a lot of books but this one grabbed me fully, as someone who found running in his mid-forties and more recently Ultras this really spoke to me on many levels.

Was a bit gutted when it actually finished.

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from Parkrun to Ultras

a funny and uplifting story that all runners can relate to and gives non runners an insight into why we do it

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Superb. A book that honestly tells us like it is

Matt Whyman narrates his own book, Failure is an Option and this gives it a powerful authenticity that is relatable for everyday adventure athletes. Highly recommended. The book is told with honestly and trots along through the highs, lows, mishaps and misadventures of an ultra running ‘career’.