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Edinburgh Resident to Tackle World’s Toughest Race for Dogs and Cats in Need

Posted: 19th July 2021

Today, Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home supporter and Finding Gobi author Dion Leonard will take part in a gruelling 135 mile trek in California, USA, while raising funds for East Scotland’s dogs and cats in need.

The Badwater 135, which is considered one of the most extreme ultramarathons in the world, will take Dion through deserts with scorching temperatures, and across three mountain ranges as high as 8,360 feet (2548m), non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney in California. Dion will be raising money for Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, which works to rescue, reunite and rehome stray, lost and abandoned dogs and cats throughout the East of Scotland.

Dion will have to contend with temperatures ranging from 38C at the 11pm start time, rising to 53C during the hottest part of the day. He will run 135 miles on the asphalt road, which has been known to cause runners shoes to melt and their feet to burn.

Dion Leonard is an Edinburgh resident, currently travelling across America, and Sunday Times best-selling author of the book ‘Finding Gobi’.

In 2016, while running a 155 mile multi-stage race across the Gobi Desert, a little stray dog started following Dion, and this would end up changing both of their lives forever. Their story, Finding Gobi, has been printed in 21 languages, is being made into a Hollywood movie with Sony & Tencent Pictures for a 2022 release.

Dion said:

“As a passionate ambassador of ‘Adopt Don’t Shop’, my values align perfectly with Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home and I have been a proud supporter and campaigner for the Home since 2017.

I’m excited to be running this iconic race and hope to reach the finish line in or around the 30 hour mark still in one piece! The heat out in Death Valley is no joke and I am under no illusion that this could well be my toughest challenge to date.”

Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home CEO, Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, said;

“We are thrilled to have Dion, and his gorgeous dog Gobi, as our Animal Champions and there seems to be no limits to the lengths he is ready to go to help support our cause. The Home relies on donations to fund its vital work, and those raised by Dion in this incredible challenge will go a long way to help us care for the hundreds of unwanted pets that reach our door each year.

“Gobi’s story is one of incredible love and resilience, qualities that we see in our resident dogs and cats, who are still waiting for their forever homes. We are so grateful to Dion for shining this light on them, and we wish him the very best of luck in this exciting race.”

To support this amazing challenge, please donate at

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