Celebrity ultra-runner Dion Leonard conquers gruelling 640-mile ‘Triple Crown’ series raising £13,000 to benefit Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home

04/12/2018

Dion Leonard, one half of celebrity ultra-running duo ‘Dion and Gobi’, has come second in a gruelling 640-mile three race series across the USA to raise funds for Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home.

Dion tackled three non-stop 200-mile races in three months, each of which included dizzying climbs of up to 50,000ft. He raised just over £13,000, which will be split between Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home and the Little Adoption Shop rescue charity in Beijing.

Dion kick-started his fundraising challenge in August by taking on the Big Foot 200, a 200-mile race taking in climbs of up to 50,000ft through the Cascade Mountains in Washington. He had just four days to complete the race, which took place non-stop, point-to-point. This race was followed in September by a further 200-mile challenge around the Sierra Nevada mountains at Lake Tahoe. He capped off the challenge last month with the Moab 240, which took him through desert, canyons and two mountain ranges in the Utah desert.

Speaking of his upcoming Triple Crown challenge, Dion said:

“Running 200 miles is a massive physical challenge in itself, but running 3 x 200-mile races isn’t just a physical challenge but a mental one,” he says.

“Running to raise money for animals in need and for Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home kept me pushing when all I wanted to do was stop. Knowing that so many people had donated and supported the Home, for which Gobi and I are ambassadors, meant a lot to me and was what got me to the finish line.” 

Originally from Australia, Dion hit the spotlight in 2016 when he took part in a 155-mile race across the Gobi Desert, and was followed for much of the journey by a small stray dog, which he later adopted and named ‘Gobi’. Their subsequent journey back to Edinburgh, which resulted in Gobi being lost for a period in the city of Urumqi, China, became the subject of a worldwide social media campaign and a successful book series. The 2017 release ‘Finding Gobi: A Little Dog with a Very Big Heart’ was named on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Last year it was reported that 20th Century Fox had acquired the rights to a film about the extraordinary story of how the abandoned pup from China ended up in Edinburgh, with a numbers of Hollywood A-listers being teed up for the production.

Dion and Gobi have now lent their voice (and barks) to animal rescues across the world and are active Animal Champions for Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home.

Speaking about Dion’s Triple Crown accomplishment, Nicola Gunn, Director of Fundraising and Communications at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, said:

“On behalf of all staff, volunteers and animals at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, we wholeheartedly thank Dion for his support. To undertake this challenge requires unimaginable levels of physical and mental stamina, and we have followed his progress through every gruelling stage of the series.

“We are in awe of Dion’s dedication to helping rescue animals in Scotland and across the world, and the skills, experience and passion for animal welfare he brings to his role as ambassador for the Home. His generous contribution will help us continue our vital work providing food, shelter and medical treatment to Edinburgh’s lost, stray and abandoned dogs and cats.”

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