Ultra-marathon runner reunited with stray from Gobi race

2016-08-26 17:23

London - An ultra-marathon runner has been reunited with the stray dog that accompanied him through part of a gruelling desert race in China and then went missing.

Dion Leonard says the stray befriended him as he took part in the 250km Gobi March race, part of the 4 Deserts race series. The dog followed him for much of the race. He vowed to take the dog, named Gobi, home to the UK.

Leonard, an Australian who lives in Scotland, says the dog was in quarantine in China before travelling to the UK when she disappeared. Having learned that she ran away, he returned to China to find Gobi, using the power of social media to track her down.

"On Tuesday night, I received a phone call around 21:00 saying, 'We've got Gobi. We think it is her. It looks like her in he posters, come round and have a look,' " he told the BBC. "Thankfully we went over and as soon as I walked into the lounge she came running across the room and into my arms."

"She was so excited to see me," he said. "I knew it was her straight away."

Gobi joined Leonard on the second day of the six-stage, seven-day race, and also ran along on her short stubby legs for days three and six.

"She ran 123km during those three stages, she slept with me during the evenings. And we just formed this bond that couldn't be broken during the race," he said. "I knew as soon as the race had finished - and even during it - that I had to make an effort to try and get her back to the UK somehow."

He now hopes the dog will join him in Scotland before Christmas.

Read more on:    uk  |  china  |  animals

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