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The story of Gobi How a small dog ran ultramarathon

author Lucy Byrne | Interesting information

Runner Dion Leonard could talk for hours about the bond which is created between a man and a dog and also about how an unknown Asian crossbreed dog becomes one of the most famous dogs on planet Earth. He bumped into a dog companion at the ultra-trial race through Gobi Desert (China) during his second day in the race. The little bitch was later named after the desert. Gobi accompanied Dion approximately half of the whole journey which is 250 kilometres. Given the fact that she was not trained  for this and also that her body is very little, it is an unbelievable performance.


Despite her size, she is a resilient dog with a strong mind according to Leonard. Although she was rather freaked out at the beginning, racing helped her grow healthy self-confidence which is necessary for a satisfying life of every furry friend. Running turned her into a completely different dog, as her owner says to the media very often. On the other hand, her genes are clear. She is probably a crossbreed of a border terrier, a hunting dog breed which is well-known for its lion-hearted nature, good spirits and activity and besides intelligence also for its great loyalty and obedience.


This loyal love revealed several times, during the race itself as well as shortly after its end. Gobi chose Dion. Right after the first day they spent together, she naturally went to his tent at night and laid by his feet. They have been inseparable since then. A reversal came at the moment when Gobi got lost after Dion flew back to Scotland to obtain necessary adoption documents and everything in relation to the transportation of the dog from China to Great Britain. The rules for animal travelling in European countries are quite strict in this regard.


As soon as he came back to Chinese city Urumqui where he left her in temporary care, he organized search for her and Gobi was found. We can say that in this case, it is probably really a fateful meeting of a man and a dog. Because Urumqui has more than three million inhabitants and the chance of finding her was minimal. Besides saving Gobi, Dion organized a charity collection and donated the obtained resources to abandoned animals and dogs in need which again stroke the hearts of the whole world.


Noone knows what happened in Gobi’s life before June 2016 when the race took place. Nowadays, she is a part of the Leonards family where she fit in just perfectly, as he claims. She lives in the runner’s household in Scottish Edinburgh together with a cat Leonard got before his fateful meeting with Gobi. Today, Gobi accompanies Dion at all races and she is probably the most famous dog ultamarathoner.


There are two lessons for me in this story and that’s why I chose it for you. Never underestimate small dogs in their physical performance. They are not only great cuddlers but also very good athletes. And also – the fact they are small does not mean their heart or love they give us is small as well. They are our small big loves.