Just takes one’s breath away.

The incredible story of one stray dog and a desert racer.

This has been widely reported in many other places but, nonetheless, seemed a perfect fit for a blog called Learning from Dogs!

This is the story of a stray dog that took a liking to a runner participating in the 2016 Gobi March 4 Deserts race in China. I first saw the story when it was carried on the Care2 Causes site.

How hard are you willing to work to improve your position in life? For one stray dog, the answer is: pretty darn hard.

During the 2016 Gobi March 4 Deserts race in China, extreme runner Dion Leonard from Scotland was racing through the rugged terrain of the Tian Shan mountain range. That’s when a stray female pooch (eventually and aptly named) Gobi started following him.

The runner figured that she’d tire out eventually. She was a small dog, so keeping up with a life-sized human (who is an extreme jogger) probably didn’t seem likely. But amazingly, the little dog kept up.

That Care2 report linked to the UK’s Independent Newspaper who opened the story thus:

Man who befriended stray dog during extreme desert marathon launches reunion appeal

The dog ran alongside Dion Leonard for 124 kilometres

May Bulman Tuesday 2 August 2016

Mr Leonard hopes to be reunited with the dog who ran with him during the 250 kilometre race in the Gobi desert 4Deserts.com / Omni Cai
Mr Leonard hopes to be reunited with the dog who ran with him during the 250 kilometre race in the Gobi desert 4Deserts.com / Omni Cai

An extreme marathon runner has launched an appeal to be reunited with a stray dog with whom he formed an “unbreakable bond” during a 250-kilometre (155 mile) race in the Gobi desert in China.

Dion Leonard, 41, hopes to raise the funds that will allow him to be reunited with the dog, named Gobi, who joined him during the annual 4 Deserts Race Series in March.

Gobi began running alongside the 101 competitors as they ran through the Tian Shan mountain range. Despite her small size the dog managed to run half of the race.

Later on in that Independent article it is reported:

Mr Leonard set up the crowdfunding page to raise funds towards organising for Gobi to be transported from China to live with him in Scotland.

The process will take up to four months and cost £5,000, with the dog having to be medically checked and quarantined before she can be cleared for entry.

A simple mouse click then takes the reader to that Crowdfunding page where the headline then shows that already over £19,000 has been raised.

90358That page explains:

Gobi, a friendly stray dog joined 101 other competitors running 250km over the Tian Shan Mountains down to the Black Gobi Desert during a 6 stage 7 day self sufficiency foot race. Gobi ran 4 stages including the final 10km stage to the finish line, showing unique strength and stamina for a little dog to keep up with the runners in such grueling conditions.

90358-0742f368adef57f7a59875929a05e67dEveryone from the competitors, volunteers and race crew fell in love with this little dog that captured all our hearts. Gobi took a shine to me and over the week we developed an unbreakable bond as I shared my sleeping space, food/water and ultimately our companionship. 

Now let’s hear from Dion.

Time and time again our wonderful dogs inspire us to reach out; to never say never!

12 thoughts on “Just takes one’s breath away.

  1. I first saw this on internet news and I fell in love with the story. I’m glad that you found the vid of the man and it is nice to know about the update. I surely hope that Gobi will soon be with the man she loves. Clearly dogs know who is kind and I think she sensed a good thing in the runner. I love your stories.


    1. You do know I would have given up writing posts for this blog years ago without the wonderful camaraderie shown by so many readers and followers including, of course, your very good self! Ergo, ‘my’ stories are just a reflection of ‘your’ love! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great, heartwarming story! Good on the runner for wanting to reunite with the dog. I assume he knows where the dog is at this time–considering she’s a stray–and it’ll be easy to reconnect?


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