Rob Jones is a marine on a mission.
The mission? 31 marathons in 31 days. A challenge he started on October 12 in London and has brought him to the Beltline right here in Atlanta.
“I only have three marathons after this one to go,” Jones said, during a pit stop between miles. Traveling with his mother and wife in an RV, Jones is tackling the month of marathon challenge by completing 26.2 miles each day, in a different city.
A former Marine, Jones was wounded while serving and hopes his athletic feat will prove an inspiration to others.
“My job was to find IEDs,” Jones said. “On July 22, 2010, my luck run out…I was trying to do that job and the IED hit me first.”
Jones lost the lower half of both of his legs but didn’t let that moment stop him. Instead, he challenged himself to pursue another path, bringing home a bronze medal in the Paralympics in 2012 and in 2013, completed a cross-country bike ride.
“I’m taking on this mission to try and prove that a wounded veteran is not a broken veteran,” Jones said. “Whether that injury is a physical injury or a psychological injury, a wounded veteran is still capable of contributing to America and finding their new path.”
Atlanta marks his 28th marathon in 28 days.
“If I’m going to prove my mission which is proving wounded veterans are still capable of contributing. I figured I needed to do it in a really big way,” Jones said.
Along the way, he’s been joined by local runners eager to show their support.
“By supporting me they’re supporting all veterans,” Jones said. “They’re helping me prove that veterans aren’t alone and all they have to do is ask for help, and there will be plenty of people out there to help them.”
While Jones said “every day is tough,” his message seems to motivate the athlete towards his final mile.
Jones is set to wrap his 31st marathon on Veterans Day in Washington, DC. Those who wish to support him or run can follow his journey here.