Editors Note:  We usually don’t follow ultramarathoners but "Finding Gobi" caught our attention. We’re dog lovers here at Youth Runner and when we read about a little dog that followed Dion Leonard across the Gobi Desert we decided to share it with you. YR Blogger Isabella Vu shares her thoughts on the book.

Imagine this scene: Dion Leonard, an ultra marathoner, challenges himself  to a multi- stage, 155 mile race across the barren Gobi Desert. A stray dog immediately takes interest in him, never wanting to leave his side. Not just through one strenuous stage, but every mile, and every night. They grew closer and eventually, Leonard named her Gobi. After the race, he promised to take Gobi back to Scotland. This wasn’t an easy task, especially when Gobi disappeared.

I don’t want to spoil the story too much, as this book is definitely one to read. There have been so many excellent books written, made about man’s best friend and their relationship in this past year. Finding Gobi, a true story, recounts the heartwarming tale of a stray dog and a race runner, definitely takes the cake for me. I can’t lie when I say dogs and running are one of my favorite things. When put together, it’s a very comforting idea that makes you wanna smile again, and again.

This book touches on so many important lessons and I encourage any young adult to give Finding Gobi a try. Dion touches on life’s disappointments and successes, something we all face as runners, and my favorite, a happy ending. This book also has strong content about determination, integrity, and never losing hope when things go wrong. Finding Gobi is relatable on so many levels and after reading it multiple times, I hope you give this book a try.



The book is published in three versions.  The Full Story with 261 pages and all the details of the adventure.

The Young Reader version which is 190 pages and a really cook Kids version with illustrations.

You can buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble.

Or go here to order.


Here is an excerpt from Chapter One. of the Young Reader version.


   "Take your positions!" one of the race organizers shouted. Everyone tensed and moved to the startingline, completing final stretches. Dion was already done with all of that. He just made sure his shoes were tied tight and his backpack was securely on, and concentrated on the path up ahead. Little pink flags marked the way.


   The starting gun sounded, and they were off! Dion didn't try to push past people. This wasn't that kind of race. You had to keep up a good pace, but it was more about endurance than bursts of spped. He knew enough to pace himself. The racers who sprinted out in front now would be worn-out later. He had plenty of time.


   He concentrated on his footing and his pace but was startled when a smallblur appeared by his foot. It was the dog! She hadn't gone away, and now she was running alongside him! Her little legs moved fast, but she was keeping pace.


  Despite himself, Dion laughed. "All right," he told her. "If you want to come with me, you can. As long as you can keep up."


   The dog barked in response. And kept right on running.