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Runner befriends stray dog during ultra-marathon

Thursday August 4th 2016

A runner who made a new furry friend while taking part in a ultra-marathon has raised more than £5,000 to bring the pup home.

Dion Leonard was taking part in China's Gobi March, part of the 4 Deserts race series, when he saw a little stray dog following the competitors.

Most dogs love walks but the stray, named Gobi by Mr Leonard, followed him for the 155-mile race in temperatures up to 52 degrees C.

The pup appeared as racers set off over the Tian Shan Mountains in north west China last month and quickly befriended him.

The Edinburgh runner, who managed to finish in an impressive second place, carried Gobi across rivers, gave her food and water, and even shared his sleeping space with her.

He said he "fell in love with her" after she lay down next to him in camp on the first evening of the seven-day event.

The athlete could not bear to say goodbye to his pal after the race had finished and has managed to crowdfund the cash to pay for transport to Scotland, as well as health checks and quarantine costs.

The pair are set to be reunited in around six months and Gobi is being looked after by race officials.

Copyright Press Association 2016