Dion Leonard begins by taking the reader through the tough moments of his childhood and the life that brought him and his wife together. It shows us the man before the ultra and the building blocks of what made his an athlete. The Ultra he ran in the Gobi Desert was not his first, but it represented a significant moment in his life.
Finding Gobi isn’t just the unlikely story of meeting a brave little dog. It is a story about overcoming all obstacles to get what you want, whether that it a podium spot or a new member of the family.
Dion beautifully illustrates our need to make choices that will affect the outcome of our race and our lives. Will you turn back and take this dog across the river or continue in the hope of catching the other competitors? Will you stop for the man who can no longer walk straight, knowing that you will lose valuable time but could save his life?
Gobi’s loyalty in the narrative is wonderfully inspiring. It seemed only right that Dion would then return her dedication in the second part of the novel whenever she then goes missing in China.
Getting Gobi Home
It was hard reading the book and not placing blame. Gobi’s story got so big that there had to have been those who would exploit her. Even Dion himself expresses these fears in later chapters. And although the Twitter page and the pictures in the centrefold gave away that Gobi did make it back to Scotland safely, I still cried with relief when she was found.
The months that followed where Dion had to go through the legal process of getting Gobi back home was so honestly written that I felt an ill-feeling of being dragged through the same process. When Gobi was finally home, it was an exhausting joy that filled both those involved and myself as a reader. In one day I had torn through this book and felt so connected to the story.