Runner Searches for Dog That Followed Him Across Desert

She ran 80 miles to stay with him; he searched for her in a city of 3 million
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2016 6:10 PM CDT
Runner, Dog Go to Impossible Lengths to Stay Together
Ultramarathon runner Dion Leonard and Gobi, the Chinese dog that ran alongside him for 80 miles through the Gobi desert.   (Twitter)

The dog ran 80 miles across a Chinese desert for him, so it seems only fitting that ultramarathon runner Dion Leonard would ignore the odds and comb a city of 3 million people for the missing pup. Earlier this year, Leonard was running a six-day marathon through the Gobi desert when he was joined by a small dog for the final four days, the Washington Post reports. The dog, which Leonard dubbed Gobi, outran "some pretty damn good athletes" to stick alongside him. Leonard has no idea why Gobi is so attached to him, but he decided to bring her back to Scotland with him. According to the BBC, Leonard left Gobi with friends while the dog awaited quarantine, but she disappeared Sunday.

Leonard rushed back to China from Scotland and launched a massive search in the city of Urumqi, enlisting social media, volunteers, posters, and TV news. Despite having little hope of finding Gobi in such a huge city, Leonard stayed up 34 hours straight looking for her, NPR reports. Finally on Wednesday a man called Leonard and said he and his son found Gobi in the park while walking their dog. Leonard was skeptical, but as soon as he walked in their home Gobi "was running up my leg and jumping all over me and squealing with delight." Leonard tells the BBC that finding Gobi was "one of the best days of my life." He hopes Gobi will be finished with quarantine in time to join him for Christmas in Scotland. (More uplifting news stories.)

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