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The Race of Truth

Sports Book Publishing Awards, 2024

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Being the fastest cyclist in the world at the start line means nothing if your mind isn’t strong enough to get you to the finish line

In 2018, Leigh Timmis became the fastest person to cycle across Europe – in just 16 days, 10 hours and 45 minutes – breaking the previous world record by an astonishing 8 days and 17 hours. But when he set out to break the record, Leigh wasn’t just trying to conquer the road.

As he prepared his body for this ultra-endurance world record attempt, Leigh realized that he would have to confront deeper problems to make it to the finish line. Although test results showed that he already had the physical ability of an elite athlete, something was holding him back: his troubled mind.

With the support of psychologists and sports science experts, Leigh confronted the past that had left him with vulnerabilities he would need to understand and overcome in the pursuit of performance. Then, cycling for 14 hours a day, from the west coast of Portugal to the edge of Siberia, he embarked on far more than just a physical journey.

The Race of Truth is the remarkable true story of personal transformation against the clock, and the astonishing feats we can accomplish when we face up to our deepest fears.


Brilliantly relatable, honest and funny. Leigh has immortalized his incredible story in a way that will inspire readers.
Mark Beaumont, long-distance cyclist, broadcaster and author
Inspiring AND useful - Leigh's insights on the mental aspect of preparing for a big challenge are amazing; I wish I'd read them years ago. There's so much to learn from here, about achieving athletic goals and life goals.
Sean Conway, adventurer and author
This is a great read for anyone with an interest in cycling or adventures. However, for those with an interest in sport science, psychology or team dynamics, Timmis book is so much more. It offers a brilliant case study of just what it takes and just how many people need to be involved in order to take on a credible world record attempt.
Dr Josephine Perry, sport psychologist and author of The 10 Pillars of Success
An awesome story that shows what goes on 'under the hood' of a high-performance athlete. Leigh is an inspiration.
Jamie McDonald, adventurer and author
I turned the pages as quickly as Leigh turned the pedals. This tale of mental and physical endurance is both jaw-dropping and inspirational.
Steve Silk, journalist and author
A truly incredible achievement, and a fascinating insight into elite sporting performance - what it takes, and what it gives. Leigh brings his experience of an exploration of the world by bike and distils lessons from that, alongside the learnings of taking on something as all-consuming and ambitious as this challenge, and brings us along with him on a record-breaking ride.
Leon McCarron, adventurer and author
Leigh is an exceptional human being and he writes with honesty and humour. This book is both a fascinating story and a profound inspiration.
Lord Burlington, Chancellor of the University of Derby
A bonkers, fast-paced, and adrenaline-fuelled adventure. This is a fascinating insight into the world of ultra-endurance cycling. A great read, but rather him than me!
Simon Parker, travel writer and broadcaster
A compelling story of sport and self. Leigh's honest account taps into the importance and value of mental strength, proving there's more to athletes than physical fitness.
Mike Carter, journalist and author
Leigh Timmis' bravery is doubly impressive; not only did he take on a gruelling record attempt, but he faced up to his own inner demons and vulnerabilities.
Alastair Humphries, adventurer and author
This is a spirited, candid book, about aiming high and keeping going. It's impressive that anyone can sustain such a wild pace across an entire continent, but Leigh has much more to reckon with before the physical start line appears. His enthusiasm is captivating, even when the inner battles are hard won. He writes with great affection for the teammates who steered him and, with their help, finds the best in himself. It reminded me that mindsets are built, not bestowed; that faith in yourself can be the greatest challenge of them all. A fascinating, behind-the-scenes dive into how, and indeed why, world records get smashed. A banging adventure tale too.
Stephen Fabes, author and doctor
Wowsers. Talk about grit-on-wheels. I'm in awe of Leigh's willingness to push himself to the edge, in pursuit of a deeper understanding of himself and the demons that haunt us all. A beautifully written, immersive and truly gripping read.
Anna McNuff, author and adventurer
The Race of Truth is a testament, not just to the endurance of an individual, but to the potential for all humans to achieve extraordinary things given the right mindset, circumstances and support. Leigh's story of determination, generosity and sense of adventure is an inspiration to everyone, and we are very proud to call him an ambassador for MQ Mental Health Research.
Lea Milligan, CEO of MQ Mental Health Research