Ultra running has to be one of the hardest things on the planet to do. It’s not even just the sheer exhaustion you would have to deal with. Harsh weather conditions and natural obstacles are also two opponents these amazing athletes must face. One runner got some support from an unlikely place in a recent race in the Gobi Desert however. While participating in a 155 mile race called the 4 Deserts Race, he gained an unexpected running partner in the form of a stray dog. Check out there incredible story below.
Dion Leonard, a British ultra runner was participating in a grueling race through the Gobi Desert when a stray dog started following him and never left his side. Even when the temperatures reached a scorching 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
The dog started following Dion during a portion of the race that went through the Tian Shan Mountains. She instantly attached to Dion, who nicknamed her “Gobi.” She would never leave Dion’s side, even when they were in camp.
Dion said he believes that Gobi was attracted to the bright yellow color of his gaiters. “When she came into camp she followed me straight into my tent, laid down next to me and that was that – a bond had been developed.” All the runners were impressed with Gobi, and immediately took a liking to the little terrier.
Gobi became very protective of Dion, and Dion the same of her. He carried her across rivers and made sure she always had food and water during their travels.“Gobi really became the race’s mascot – she embodied the same fighting spirit as the competitors. She also rarely barked and wasn’t very demanding so we all had to take the time to try to feed her and force her to drink water,” said Dion.
Dion knew that he had developed something special with Gobi during their short time together. “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.” He finished 2nd in his first 4 Deserts Race, but he knew his mission there wasn’t done yet. He wanted to bring Gobi home with him to Britain. Unfortunately he couldn’t do that right away because of the strict laws about transporting animals between Asia and Europe.
He launched a fundraiser on CrowdFunder to help with the costs of bring Gobi to the UK, as it is expensive costing around $6,500. He is being assisted 4 Desert Club members and the SPCA in Hong Kong. Gobi is staying with the 4 Deserts Gobi March local manager until arrangements can be made.
This little dog showed some really toughness keeping up with these racers. Sometimes animals and people are just drawn to each other, and that truly seems to be the case here. These two were meant to be in that exact place and time and meet each other. I hope everything works out for these two, and they are able to reunite soon!