Rob Jones was a combat engineer in the Marine Corps when he stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan and lost the bottom of both of his legs.
That didn’t stop him from winning a bronze medal in rowing at the 2012 Paralympic Games, bicycling 181 days across the U.S., and taking on his latest mission: running 31 marathons in 31 days, all to bring attention to wounded veterans’ causes.
“I’m doing it because I want to be an example of somebody that uses a tragedy or something that would normally bring them down — instead of letting that pin them to the ground helplessly or destroy them mentally, I’m being an example of someone who uses that as a tool to make themselves better or do something that makes a difference,” Jones said.
His first race was Oct. 12 in London. His last will be Veterans Day in Washington, D.C. He won’t compete in any organized marathons, but he’s has mapped out courses in each city, encouraging friends and supporters to run with him.
‘My job was to find IEDs’
A farm boy who ended up in college at Virginia Tech, Jones joined the Marine Corps Reserve in Roanoke, Virginia, during his junior year.
He served as a combat engineer attached to an infantry unit. After a deployment to Iraq in 2008, Jones was sent to Sangin, Afghanistan, in 2010.