WASHINGTON — Rob Jones, a Loudoun County native, was remarkably upbeat for a man who has run hundreds of miles in recent weeks.
“If you ask people in Instagram, my legs don’t hurt at all,” Jones joked. “[But actually], believe it or not, they hurt. I have certain spots on them. It’s mostly the skin that hurts — abrasions, blisters, or pimples that rub every day. But the muscles and the bones of the leg feel pretty good.”
Which is understandable when you consider Jones is a double amputee who has been running marathon distances on prosthetic blades every day for the last month.
After finishing on the National Mall, Jones will have ran 31 marathons in 31 different cities over the last 31 days. He left the country twice to accomplish it.
It’s all part of what’s called Rob Jones’ Journey.
“Every time that I come out of the RV and I see a group of people there waiting for me to start running, so they can join me, is a meaningful moment for me,” Jones said. “I’m incredibly thankful for the people that have supported me this whole time.”
Jones is running these marathons to raise money for a group of charities for veterans. So far, he’s raised about $125-thousand. His goal is one million dollars for groups like the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, and the Semper Fi fund — groups he calls “incredible organizations.”
“They all just have their own way of helping wounded veterans get back on their feet and find a new way to contribute to their country,” Jones said.
It was around 7 a.m. when Jones approached the large group gathered by the Lincoln Memorial to run with him. He was excited and welcoming.
“Thanks everyone for coming out,” he said, addressing the cheering crowd. “I would love to talk to everybody while we’re running. I’m probably going to need a lot of encouragement today because my back is killing me still.”
In his address, he also warned that the blades on his legs swing out a few feet each way to the side.
Mostly, Jones’ speech focused on his goal “to prove that veterans are appreciated in this country.”
“Here we are on Veterans Day between monuments toward two of our greatest presidents who served during wartime with veterans,” acknowledging the Lincoln Memorial behind him and the Washington Monument in front. “I can’t think of a better way to end this mission than today.”
And a minute or two later, he got a move on, one more time.