Ultramarathon runner Dion Leonard adopts stray dog after 125-kilometre China trek


Ultramarathon runner Dion Leonard adopts stray dog after 125-kilometre China trek

Edinburgh-based Leonard first met his new best friend early in the Gobi March, a seven-day race in the deserts and mountains of China. The race forms part of the international 4 Deserts series.


While starting his run in the Gobi March, Leonard noticed a little dog keeping pace with the rest of the field.


The stray dog kept pace with him, and even when unable to run, waited at the finish line. The two formed a bond, and now the runner is doing everything he can to bring Gobi back home with him to Scotland.


As the race unfolded, the story has now gone global, with the BBC, The Daily Mail and The Independent among those profiling the duo.


"I noticed this dog was at my feet and looking up at me and I'm thinking 'I saw that dog yesterday walking around the campsite, that's a bit odd'," Leonard told BBC Radio.


"I started to speed off and this little dog is looking up at me and I'm thinking 'this dog won't last the whole day' but 25 miles I think we ran that day and she was still with me at the end.


"Day three was exactly the same. We started the race together and during that stage I actually had to take her across lots of rivers. She slept with me on day two, she came into the camp with me. From then on she didn't leave my side."


"She'd sit there and wait for me [at the finish line] so I could see her as a I was running in. It was amazing to see her stand up and start running towards me," Leonard said.


The dog - now named Gobi - showed incredible stamina, covering half the distance of the March. However, as the race lead into had the desert regions where temperatures reached 52 degrees, race organizers stepped in to keep them together.


"It was then that I realised this was something else other than a little dog following me."


The Australian started a bid to be reunited with Gobi in Edinburgh.


Using the hashtag #bringgobihome, he has started fundraising for her "immigration fees" and has Facebook and Instagram pages set up for the cause.


He has pledged that any extra funds raised will be donated to a local dog charity.






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