By Dion Leonard
August 1, 2017
‘This little dog has changed me in ways I think I’m only just beginning to understand. Maybe I’ll never fully understand it all. Yet I do know this: finding Gobi was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. But being found by her – that was one of the best.’
In the scorching heat, across arid plains and over the Tian Shan Mountains, Dion Leonard was competing in a gruelling 155-mile ultramarathon race through the Chinese Gobi Desert when a stray dog started running with him. The lovable pup, who earned the name ‘Gobi’, proved that what she lacked in size, she more than made up for in heart, as she went step for step with Dion over the treacherous landscape, managing to keep pace with him for nearly 80 miles.
As Dion witnessed the incredible determination of this small scruffy dog, he felt something change within himself. He had always focused solely on winning a place on the race podium, but now his goal was simply to make sure that his new friend was safe, nourished and hydrated. Although Dion did not finish first, he felt he had won something far greater and promised to bring Gobi back to the UK to become part of his family.
Back in the UK, Dion was working hard to bring Gobi home when he received a phone call that made his stomach drop. Gobi was missing in a dangerous sprawling Chinese city of 3 million people. Dion was determined to do everything in his power to find the little dog who had inspired him and won his heart – this was the start of a journey neither of them would ever forget, a roller-coaster ride that changed their lives forever.