What It Takes To...

Be a man’s best friend; and take up a chal­lenge

Runner's World (UK) - - Contents - face­book.com/bring­gob­i­home;crowd­fun­der.co.uk/bring-gobi-home

When Dion Leonard, 41, took on the multi-day, 250km Gobi March ul­tra in June, he found him­self a most un­usual run­ning buddy. A pint-sized stray dog took a shine to Dion’s yel­low gaiters on day one, run­ning along­side him and ac­com­pa­ny­ing him into the camp. The lit­tle ter­rier – whom Dion chris­tened Gobi – soon cap­tured the hearts of ev­ery­one in­volved in the race – other com­peti­tors, crew and vol­un­teers – but a spe­cial bond formed be­tween dog and Dion. ‘She seemed to choose me,’ says the ul­tra run­ner, who lives in Ed­in­burgh. Dion shared his sleep­ing space, food and wa­ter with Gobi over the next six days, car­ry­ing her across rivers and other ob­sta­cles she was too small to tackle, and he still fin­ished the race in sec­ond place. ‘By then I knew I couldn’t be parted from her and be­gan to look into how I could get her back to Scot­land,’ he says.

Dion es­ti­mated he’d need £5,000 to cover the med­i­cal fees and quar­an­tine process, so he launched a crowd­fun­der cam­paign, ‘Bring Gobi Home’. Do­na­tions flooded in as word spread of the dog’s heroic an­tics. ‘I was amazed to hit the tar­get so quickly,’ says Dion. The cam­paign has now col­lected more than £38,000. The sur­plus funds will be do­nated to dog res­cue or­gan­i­sa­tions once Gobi is safely in her new home in Ed­in­burgh.


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