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The Dog that Ran an Extreme Marathon

The Dog that Ran an Extreme Marathon

Extreme marathon runner Dion Leonard was taking part in a seven day event in China when a stray dog began running alongside the athletes in the race.
Leonard was competing in the gruelling Gobi March across deserts and mountains. The little dog appeared as if from nowhere with the closest town being many miles away. She ran the 25 mile stage of the race and then appeared again the following day when she singled out Leonard. She ran side by side with him all the way. The dog then followed Leonard into camp at the end of the day’s run and curled up by his side.


When the Going Gets Tough

Dion Leonard christened the stray pooch Gobi and the dog clearly felt drawn to him. After the first three stages of the race had been completed, the athletes were then to cross the Black Gobi Desert which the organisers felt would be too gruelling for the little dog due to the arduous terrain and searing temperatures. They arranged to transport the devoted Gobi to the end of each stage of the race where she waited for Leonard at the finish line.

Bringing Back Gobi

Gobi completed almost four complete stages of the race covering an amazing 78 miles. Leonard shared food and water with her and the dog stole his heart. He and his wife were anxious to bring Gobi home and started to research what they needed to do. They found that the process would take four months and would require the dog to undergo medical checks and two stays in quarantine.

Funding Gobi

The couple launched a crowfunder page in the hope of raising the funds that they needed to bring Gobi home to Scotland. On the page Leonard wrote "If you ever felt that magic bond with an animal I hope you can also help make this happen by giving as little or as much as you are able and anything you can (to) help with would make this story even more amazing," The page was fully funded within 24 hours and pledges continued to pour in as the story went viral on social media.

Dion Leonard is now looking forward to welcoming Gobi into his home in Edinburgh by Christmas and plans to donate any surplus funds to an animal shelter.

Sometimes you don’t choose your pets, they choose you. Of course it is isn’t unusual for an animal to make a concerted effort to ingratiate themselves with a potential owner but few would run 78 miles across a desert to do it! Gobi fully deserves her new home.


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