The 4 Deserts Race Series are no joke. These world-class rated races are extremely tough and not for the faint of heart. One race in the series, however, holds a story for more than just the human competitors. In fact, the biggest hero is a tiny, stray dog that surprised everyone.
In March 2016, ultrarunner Dion Leonard ran the 250-kilometer (155 mile) race through China’s Gobi desert. Along with 101 other competitors, he set out on one of the adventures of his lifetime. What he didn’t expect, however, was to come home with a dog!
On the first day of his race, Leonard noticed a little dog running alongside the competitors, but didn’t think very much of her. On day two, though, she was looking right at him at the start line. She continued to follow him to the finish line, completing a total of 77 miles on her tiny little legs – an incredible feat for any living creature. Leonard thought she’d break away at some point, but when she followed him back to his tent to sleep at night, he knew that he had adopted a new canine companion.
Leonard named the little dog Gobi after the race in which they met. Getting her from China to his home in Scotland proved to be an expensive challenge, but after starting a crowdfunding campaign, he managed to far exceed the cost. Gobi’s full medical bills, travel expenses and quarantine costs are completely covered as the result of the campaign, and Leonard hopes to have her home in time for Christmas.
This amazing little pup is currently in the care of one of Leonard’s friends in China, and she’s expected to head home to Scotland soon. After caring for her so much during the race, Leonard has grown very attached to his new friend. These two have made a very impressive, inseparable team.