Photo by Gabriela Cabrera
Joanna King, Staff Writer
Rob Jones, an amputee veteran, ran his 29th marathon on Thursday, November 9, in his mission to complete 31 marathons in 31 days. Residents of Charlotte showed up at 6 a.m. to show their support and run alongside him.
Jones plans to set an example for other veterans who have gone through similar trials. Also, Jones hopes to have an impact on those who have not experienced such a life-altering event.
“Instead of seeing tragedy or hardship as something that is blocking your path or getting in your way, seeing it as an opportunity to get stronger…seeing it as something that can make you better,” said Jones.
Jones consistently ran and trained his body for 18 months prior to beginning the marathons, said Pam Jones, the wife of Rob Jones. During training, Jones ran two hours every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. On Friday he ran one and each Thursday, he ran a full marathon. Sunday was his only day off.
Jones’ wife said the physical fitness came quickly for him. She said he had always been a natural athlete. The biggest concern was conditioning his joints in preparation for a month of marathons.
Rob Jones was completely self-coached. Pam Jones commented on how determined he was and how his childhood led him to be a disciplined individual.
Growing up, Rob Jones was an athlete and had coaches who pushed him to be the best he could be. The military also forced Jones to be disciplined and ready for anything. As a result, Jones knew what his body needed in order to complete this challenge.
Jones took it upon himself to research and learn as much as he could about nutritional benefits. Pam Jones said he is always looking for a way to improve himself physically and mentally.
“He is just one of those people that wants to be a better person every day, and that could be by making himself physically better or making himself mentally better,” said Pam Jones. “He has been researching and reading books. He is constantly trying to expand his knowledge about something.”
Jones’ diet was also a crucial part to excelling in his performance. Jones’ wife pre-made all food before the trip to freeze while they were traveling. This limited the cooking time and supplies they would have to carry with them.
“Rob eats the same food every single day so that he has the right breakdown of calories. He has the exact same meal prepared the exact same way every single day. Which for you and me, would seem very monotonous, but that is what he needs to do in order to get the right calories from the right place,” said Pam Jones.
Jones was held to a strict high-fat diet, which helped with reducing inflammation in his joints and abrasions on his legs.
During the process of running every day, Rob Jones kept his heart rate below 150 beats per minute in order to reduce the tissue breakdown. Jones set a personal record while running his 10th marathon in Chicago, Illinois.
Pam Jones said the recovery process is just as important as the preparation process. She made sure that all Jones had to do was focus on running, sleeping, eating and talking to any media who came through. She focused on driving the RV, cooking the food, and keeping him up to date on who he would be talking to at each location.
Carol Miller, Jones’ mother and a professional massage therapist, also helped Jones by giving him hour-long massages twice a day to help with the soreness and performance.
Edited by Gabriela Cabrera and Mason Teague