Failure is an Option

£12.99 GBP
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Why Vertebrate Publishing?


Shipped from United Kingdom

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‘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 ultra-runner 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.

About Vertebrate Publishing

Sheffield, nestled by the Peak District, is our base, offering access to premier hillwalking, running, mountain biking, climbing, and hidden swimming spots. This locale serves as the perpetual muse for our growing array of books.

In 2004, we debuted with "Dark Peak Mountain Biking: True Grit Trails," lauded by and Singletrack. Now, our collection boasts eighteen mountain biking guidebooks, spanning the UK and the Western Alps. MBR Magazine hails our guides as polished and well-researched.

Beyond cycling, we expanded into hillwalking, running, open water swimming, and climbing guidebooks. Notable titles include "Revelations," the autobiography of climber Jerry Moffatt, earning the Grand Prize at the 2009 Banff Mountain Book Festival. We've secured rights to noteworthy titles, like Steve House’s "Beyond the Mountain" and Ron Fawcett's "Rock Athlete," a Boardman Tasker Prize winner.

Acquiring Bâton Wicks in 2013 broadened our range, offering classic mountaineering books in various formats. A commitment to female writers emerged, exemplified by the award-winning "Waymaking."

Throughout the challenges of Covid, support from the outdoor community fueled our growth. Ventures into new realms, such as stand-up paddleboarding, yielded success. Our mission endures: to publish inspiring adventure books, sharing tales that empower each individual's quest for adventure and championing access to the landscape for all.

Recent years brought accolades, including the TGO Outdoor Book of the Year Award in 2021 and the Small Press of the Year Regional Award in 2022. The journey persists, fueled by passion and recognition.

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  • United Kingdom

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Shipping Times

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  • Europe - 7 working day(s)
  • United Kingdom - 3 working day(s)
  • United States - 10 working day(s)
  • ROW - 14 working day(s)
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