GOBI by Dion Leonard

Agnes is a member of the George Ashe Library Book Club, to which we too belong. A shy and subdued retired professional caregiver, Agnes has written a review of Gobi. Here are her words WITH AN ADDENDUM BY RICHARD.

We believe Agnes found this story moving, emotional, and spiritually uplifting. It’s about a dog and dog stories can do that to a person.

Read what she writes about this book.

Just read this one and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Author Dion Leonard unites with Gobi, his running partner.

Synopsis from ‘goodreads’

Finding Gobi is the miraculous tale of Dion Leonard, a seasoned ultra marathon runner who crosses paths with a stray dog while competing in a 155-mile race through the Gobi Desert in China. The lovable pup, who would later earn the name Gobi, proved that what she lacked in size, she more than made up for in heart, as she went step for step with Dion over the Tian Shan Mountains, across massive sand dunes, through yurt villages and the black sands of the Gobi Desert, keeping pace with him for 77 miles.


As Dion witnessed the incredible determination and heart of this small animal, he found his own heart undergoing a change as well.  Whereas in the past these races were all about winning and being the best, his goal now was to make sure he and Gobi’s friendship continued well after the finish line.  He found himself letting Gobi sleep in his tent at night, giving her food and water out of his own limited supply, and carrying her across numerous rivers, even when he knew it would mean putting him behind in the race, or worse, prevent him from finishing at all.

Although Dion did not cross the finish line first, he felt he had won something even greater – a new outlook on life and a new friend that he planned on bringing home as soon as arrangements were made.  However, before he could take her home, Gobi went missing in the sprawling Chinese city where she was being kept. Dion, with the help of strangers and a viral outpouring of assistance on the internet, set out to track her down, and reunite forever with the amazing animal that changed his life and proved to him and the world that miracles are possible.

Agnes reviews…

You don’t have to be an animal lover for this story to touch and warm your heart. If you are game to read a book that is inspirational, a story of hope, friendship, resilience, this non-fiction easy to read book is it.


Aside from the story of Gobi, the book gives us a glimpse of people’s lives and events about ultra marathon races and the people who enter them, a world I never knew existed.

A great read.

Richard’s addendum…
If you love dogs, you will enjoy this book. If you are passionate about running, walking, outdoor exercise, this book is right up your alley.

Dion Leonard, the Aussie author, has had a difficult life from learning the man he thought was his father, in real life was not, to his mother becoming an abusive single mother locking him away in the basement nightly so he would not irritate her. A trying upbringing which should have given birth to a very embittered man. Leonard is far from being one.

Leonard is a sympathetic, empathetic but very competitive man in whom helping his fellow man trumps all desire to the winner in any competition.

As an ultramarathon competitor, Leonard channels his competition across 100-mile race stretches in places like the Gobi in China and the Sahara in Africa. He competes best in incredible heat, inferno temperatures in excess of 100F are his cup of tea. While on his Gobi desert race, a straggly, mangy little mutt latches on to him and begins to run alongside him. Incredibly, the scraggly canine keeps up without eating and drinking water from brooks found along the route.

The story develops further weaving Leonard’s philosophy of life, race competition and relationships with people with the tenacity of this little dog. Eventually, the story builds to where the dog is lost and Leonard heads a region-wide search for it, engaging hundreds of people and national and international media.

The outcome of the story is Leonard learns that team spirit beats individual skills or talents, that life needs the same attitude as racing: ‘Steady in, steady out. Keep calm, keep calm’ and that there are many, many generous and caring people around the world.

Agnes’s view that this is a good book is right on!


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