BY SEAN MCLAIN BROWN
If there ever was a Marine that took the motto “adapt, improvise, overcome,” to heart it’s Rob Jones -- a retired Marine Corps combat engineer who lost both legs when he stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.
It’s not enough that he won a Bronze Medal in the Paralympics. Or that he was the first and only double above-the-knee amputee to ride a normal bicycle 5,180 miles across America. Now, he is on a journey to run 31 marathons in 31 days in 31 major cities.
Jones will run 26.2 miles in the selected city on his own, travel to the next city, and repeat, ending appropriately on Veterans Day in our Nation’s Capital.
“I came up with the idea for 31/31/31 because I learned that I had a talent for running when I was training for triathlons,” says Jones. “I hope that by completing this challenge, my fellow veterans will be able to see what I accomplished, and can have an easier time envisioning themselves doing so.”
While in Afghanistan, Jones was tasked with clearing a path through an area thought to have a buried explosive device. “The IED found me, before I found it,” Jones described.
During his rehabilitation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Jones was fitted with prosthetics and learned how to walk again with two bionic knees.
Jones is a true hardcharger and credits the Marine Corps for “forging” him into the man he has become. He hopes that other veterans will be inspired and wants them to know they are not alone.
“Seek out your brothers for advice,” says Jones. “No one will think less of you for struggling to cope with hell on earth. It is our duty to each other to support one another in war and at home.”
Many veterans leave the military and lose that sense of mission and purpose that drives them to be the best they can be. Rob Jones is a stellar example that the mission can go on and that veterans can find a renewed sense of purpose for their lives.
Jones’ suggestion? Find purpose in challenging yourself to do something that seems impossible. Harness the power of the veteran community, get up, and make it happen.
Follow Rob Jones and support him on his journey at http://www.robjonesjourney.com/
Oct. 18: Columbus, Ohio Oct. 19: Louisville, Kentucky Oct. 20: Indianapolis, Indiana Oct. 21: Chicago, Illinois Oct. 22: St. Louis, Missouri Oct. 23: Kansas City, Missouri Oct. 24: Denver, Colorado Oct. 25: Salt Lake City, Utah Oct. 26: Seattle, Washington Oct. 27: Portland, Oregon Oct. 28: San Francisco, California Oct. 29: Los Angeles, California Oct. 30: San Diego, California Oct. 31: Phoenix, Arizona Nov. 1: Albuquerque, New Mexico Nov. 2: San Antonio, Texas Nov. 3: Houston, Texas Nov. 4: Dallas, Texas Nov. 5: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Nov. 6: Memphis, Tennessee Nov. 7: Nashville, Tennessee Nov. 8: Atlanta, Georgia Nov. 9: Charlotte, North Carolina Nov. 10: Baltimore, Maryland Nov. 11: Washington, D.C.