WASHINGTON — Rob Jones wasn’t always an extreme athlete. But after losing both legs serving in Afghanistan, the retired Marine from Vienna, Virginia, continues to overcome challenges. His next test is a month of marathons.
Dedicating the challenge to wounded warriors, Jones’ goal is to do 31 runs of 26.2 miles in 31 cities in 31 days. He’ll finish in D.C. for Veterans Day on Nov. 11, when he’ll run loops around the National Mall.
Jones said people experiencing tragedy shouldn’t let it weigh them down and prevent them from accomplishing goals. Instead, he said, “use that as a tool to make themselves better and make the lives of other people better.”
“My personal way of doing this is to do these fundraising challenges where I’m trying to improve the lives of my fellow veterans,” he added.
Jones is raising money for three wounded veteran charities: Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, and Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. He has personally received help from all of them.
“The purpose behind what I’m doing definitely helps to reduce the pain and reduce the mental stress,” Jones said.
The Month of Marathons challenge starts Oct. 12 overseas in London. Day 2 follows in Philadelphia. Then, the journey continues cross-country by bus, a day at a time, when he’ll run 26.2 miles per city in the morning, then travel to the next day’s challenge.
“I certainly want you to run with me and show your support when I come through your city,” Jones said. “I’m seeking to make a difference … by my own personal sacrifice and efforts. And I think everyone should do that.”