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Marine who lost legs in Afghanistan running 31 marathons

Rob Jones shares his story of recovery on April 19, 2013 at Camp Lejeune. He lost his legs in an explosion while serving in the Marine Corps and later won a bronze medal in the 2012 Paralympic Games.

JACKELINE PEREZ RIVERA/U.S. MARINE CORPS

By ALBAN MURTISHI | MassLive.com, Springfield, Mass. | Published: October 15, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Tribune News Service) — A U.S. military veteran who lost both legs in Afghanistan made an appearance in Boston as part of his 31-day mission to complete 31 marathons in 31 cities.

Rob Jones ran 26.2 miles around Boston's Castle Island on Sunday. It's the fourth run he's embarked on since he kicked off his mission in London last week. 

Jones lost both of his legs in Afghanistan in 2010 while attempting to clear an area containing an IED. 

"The injury resulted in a left knee dis-articulation and a right above knee amputation of my legs," Jones wrote on his site. 

Jones was fitted with two prosthetic blades and dedicated himself to learning how to walk, bike, row and run on his new legs. In 2011, after being honorably discharged, Jones began training for the Paralympics.

Jones and his partner won a bronze medal in rowing and placed 4th in the 2013 World Rowing Championships. Later that year, Jones began a cross-country charity bike ride where he raised more than $126,000 over 5,180 miles for different veteran groups.

His 31-marathon journey was kicked off to raise awareness and funds for charities that support wounded veterans. He hopes to raise an additional $874,000 for veterans groups. 

"I intend to show veterans through the amount of support that I personally receive throughout this challenge that America loves her veterans, and the American people love their veterans, and want to help and support them," Jones wrote. "I mean to show my fellow veterans that they are not alone, and only need ask in order to receive all of the support that they need."

Jones has already accomplished runs in London, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. He is expected to arrive in Toronto, Canada on Monday to cover 26.2 miles on the Lower Don Trail. 

He is expected to complete his journey on Nov. 11 at the National Mall in Washington D.C. 

"I want to be an example for others to follow.  An example of a veteran, and a person who, instead of letting their personal tragedy destroy their life, they use that same tragedy to make themselves better.  To enrich their lives, and the lives of others," Jones said. 

©2017 MassLive.com, Springfield, Mass.
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Rob Jones, a former Marine and Paralympic bronze medalist, shares his story with Marines at Camp Lejeune's Wounded Warrior Battalion on April 19, 2013. Jones is a double, above-knee amputee.
JACKELINE PEREZ RIVERA/U.S. MARINES

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