Wounded veteran runs 29th marathon in Charlotte

Katlyn Batts, Staff Writer

A former Marine who lost his legs in combat, Rob Jones, ran his 29th marathon out of 31 in Charlotte this past Thursday as a part of his Month of Marathons journey.

“Plenty of Americans want to help veterans and that’s one thing I want to prove doing this,” said Jones.

According to Pam Jones, Rob’s wife, Charlotte was the largest crowd they have had on their journey thus far. Veterans, Queens University track and field team, military supporters, all the way to a 7-week-old baby girl were at the race to support or run beside Rob.

“We are just really inspired by this story and coming up on Veterans Day we felt it was very important to support Jones and veterans,” 14 year-old runner Jake Honeycutt said. Honeycutt has never run a marathon, but planned to run the first loop with his father.

A lot of preparation went into this journey and Jones’ wife and mother both helped him every step of the way.

“I drive the RV and coordinate with the media now, but before we started I did meal-prep and planned the month ahead… all Rob has to focus on is running, eating, sleeping, and talking to the cameras,” said Pam.

Coordinating with the media is extremely important, according to Pam. Every time Rob is seen on television there is a massive boost in donations, and raising money for wounded veterans is one of his goals on this journey and in life.

“Currently he has raised about $120,000. He has set a goal to raise $1 million in his lifetime,” said Pam.

His mother also joined him on his journey as his personal massage therapist.

“It has been a real privilege… it is important not to be negative for him. I try and let him do his thing even if I am sitting back here nervous,” said Rob’s mother, Carol Miller.

Rob has been an athlete since he was discharged from the Marines. Just two years after he lost his legs, he won a bronze medal in rowing at the Paralympics in London. He competed in the World Rowing Championship the following year, where he placed fourth. Also in that year he biked 5,180 miles across the United States. Rob also completed the Nation’s Triathlon.

Everyday 22 veterans commit suicide. Rob wants to puts a positive spin on his circumstance and be a light to other wounded veterans.

He says, “Thank God it happened to me and not to someone who could not cope with it,” said Pam.

Rob knows he can be a beacon of light to other veterans and he does not take this opportunity lightly, but every day this forces him to get up and be excited, happy and joyful about life so he can inspire others.

“Instead of seeing tragedy or hardship as something that is blocking your path or getting in your way, seeing it as an opportunity to grow stronger, something that you can use to make yourself better,” said Rob.

His journey has received national attention and he has received letters from the Department of Veterans Affairs and state representatives of support for his journey. Some mayors have even come out to his events, although no state or city representatives attended in Charlotte. Rob and his wife hope to have many people and military leaders at the run on Veterans Day in Washington, D.C.

Rob and his wife are currently building a house in Loudoun County, Va., and plan to take a few months off, but according to his wife, Rob hopes to try out for the Invictus games in the future. They are taking donations on their website. 

 

Edited by: Cierra Smith and Ryan MacKintosh 

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