Finding Gobi Book Review


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Finding Gobi Book Review

Picture the scene: ultrarunner Dion Leonard is competing in a multi-stage ultra across the Gobi Desert in remote Mongolia, where a stray dog takes an unusual interest in him. Not just for a few minutes, or even for one whole stage of the race, but for days and nights, the dog ran with him for miles during the days, and slept by his side at night.

The race ended, and Dion had to return home to Scotland. But he vowed to bring little Gobi back to a forever-home. However, getting her back was not an easy task, especially when she went missing…


I’d followed Dion and Gobi’s story on social media and had been gutted for him when his little pal went missing while he was making arrangements for her to be brought home. What I didn’t know was the other half of the story – how exactly did Dion find Gobi and what did he go through for the love of a stray dog?

When I heard that Dion had written a book about Finding Gobi, I couldn’t wait to read it. What’s not to love – a true story by a fellow trail runner about racing, exploring new places and cultures – and rescuing a cute and loyal pup from the streets of China? I kept thinking “wow, this will make a good film” – and the good news is, the film rights have been bought so this could become a reality.

Dion and Gobi Leonard - Finding Gobi Book Review
Finding Gobi story

In the book, Dion also gives background on his upbringing and how he (and his wife, Lucja) got into running. It’s similar to ours in a way, and that in itself is interesting. It started with a bet to run a half-marathon, and ended with losing a load of weight, both Dion and Lucja getting super-fit, and discovering a passion for running multi-stage ultras. I love how they chose their first multi-stage race. Opening the ‘Book of Endurance Challenges’ on a random page and signing up for the event the page features – the Kalahari Desert Challenge. Track forward several years, and Dion is racing across the Gobi Desert, and he is there to win!

Dion and Gobi Leonard - Finding Gobi Book Review
Dion and Gobi Leonard running in the desert

A reminder that running changes lives

It’s important for all new runners (or people yet to take up running) to remember that there are many successful runners who have only been doing it a few years.

Running has the power to change your life in so many ways, and Dion’s story is a great example of that – who would have known that taking up running for a bet would have led to this adventure and bonding so closely with a stray Chinese dog?

The book is also another important reminder of the role that running and pushing your limits with such challenges can have on your mental wellbeing. Dion, someone who had a tough and violent upbringing as a child and left home at an early age, talks candidly in the book about his background and the impact it has had on him growing up and as an adult. His experiences bringing Gobi home have given him a different perspective and changed his outlook and mindset in ways he would never have thought possible.

I don’t want to give too much of the story away in this review, I want you to go and read it yourselves. Sufficed to say, it includes, in common with all great stories, a rollercoaster of highs and lows, challenges and successes, and, like all my favourite stories, a happy ending as Dion managed to finally bring Gobi back home on New Years’ 2017.

Finding Gobi book review
Dion and Gobi at home in Scotland

In summary

If you’re a fan of biographical and true stories, then this is for you.

Runners and non-runners, and even those who aren’t the biggest fan of animals, I challenge you to read this book and not be touched by the story (and even possibly shed a little tear as a result).

Plus, if you have a younger reader in your family, a young readers and kids version of the book has just been released. What better story to read to a little one at bedtime than a true one about love, overcoming huge challenges and finding new adventures?

Bring Gobi home – buy your copy of the book

Visit the links below to buy the books from Amazon:

More trail running books

We love a good true story, especially if it involves running! So it’s not surprising that we have also reviewed other trail running books on the blog – and there are more on the way.

Read more

We are excited to be able to share our Runner Interview with Dion Leonard on the blog. It’s one of my favourites so far (and that’s saying a lot, as I’ve loved all of them), click here to have a read: Trail Runner Interview with Dion Leonard

Dion and Gobi Leonard - Finding Gobi Book Review
Desert running buddies Dion and Gobi Leonard

Why Not Try Audible Instead: A word about using Audible to read/listen as Audiobooks

If you’ve never tried Audible or haven’t got into audiobooks before, I highly recommend signing up for a free trial! The biggest advantages of using Audible to listen to books, rather than reading them, are that:

  • Get a FREE book. When you sign up for a free trial of Audible, you get 1 free audiobook + 2 free Audible Originals to get you started. After 30 days of your free trial, you get 1 audiobook and 2 Audible Originals each month for $14.95/mo. If you decide to cancel online at anytime, you get to keep all your audiobooks.
  • Listening to someone narrate the book can be more impactful than reading written words.
  • You can listen to audiobooks and get your fix of motivational self-improvement books while doing other things – boring things that don’t otherwise enhance your life, such as commuting, and doing household chores.
  • You can consume information quickly. If you like to consume information fast, you can actually playback the audiobooks faster than just 1x speed. The faster you play them back, the more the narrator will sound like a chipmunk, but the benefit is you can absorb more information SO much faster than reading a book, or even listening to one at normal speed for that matter.
  • Audible is always with you… If you have your phone with you, you have your audiobooks with you.
One of Trail & Kale's co-founders, a mom, and guardian of our resident trail dog, Kepler, Helen can be found trail running with Kepler and enjoying road runs with her mini in a jogging stroller, all while testing out the latest running gear for our readers.



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