Rob Jones

Retired Marine Sergeant, Paralympic Bronze Medalist, & Endurance Athlete
Rob Jones
  • Served two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan before being injured by an IED in 2010
  • Went on to compete in the Paralympics and World Rowing Championships
  • Completed his incredible marathon challenge in the fall of 2017, running 31 marathons in 31 days in 31 different major cities
  • Shares his incredible story and his strategies for staying motivated, pushing past fear, and living a life filled with purpose

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Retired Marine Sergeant and Paralympic Bronze Medalist, Rob Jones’ life is synonymous with fearless perseverance. A former combat engineer with the U.S. Marines, Rob served two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2008 and 2010. In 2010, he was struck and injured by a land mine, resulting in a double above-the-knee leg amputation. Despite the trauma, Rob’s incredible spirit remained intact and he set about devising a new pathway to his unchanged goal: A life filled with purpose and meaning. In the fall of 2017, Rob completed a month long, back-to-back marathon challenge, running 31 marathons in 31 days in 31 different major cities. The undertaking raised awareness and funds for wounded veteran charities, and began in London, England, on October 12, 2017. Appropriately, Jones finished the journey on November 11, 2017, Veteran’s Day, in Washington, DC. Along with providing perspective on the capabilities of all wounded veterans, Rob and his team raised over $200,000 for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, and the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. When speaking, he shares his inspiring story of perseverance and provides audiences his values-based belief system to stay motivated, harness selflessness, and take on even the most difficult of tasks.

Before setting out on his marathon challenge, Rob competed on the US Rowing national team, taking bronze in the 2012 Paralympics and placing fourth in the 2013 World Rowing Championships. On October 14, 2013 Rob began a solo supported bike ride across America which started in Bar Harbor, Maine, and ended in Camp Pendleton, California. The ride was 5,180 miles long and completed on April 13, 2014, a total of 181 days after it began. Over the course of the ride, along with his team, he raised $126,000 for the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes, the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, and Ride 2 Recovery, three charities which aid wounded veterans.

Jones grew up on a farm in Virginia and, in his junior year at Virginia Tech, joined the Marine Corps Reserve as a combat engineer. He deployed to Iraq in 2008, and again to Afghanistan in 2010. During his second deployment, Jones was tasked with clearing an area with a high likelihood of containing an IED and was wounded in action. Rob was taken to National Naval Medical Center for the initial phases of his recovery, which consisted primarily of healing and closing his wounds, before he was transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. There, he was fitted with prosthetics and worked very hard to learn how to walk with two bionic knees. He also used the time to relearn how to do other things including riding a bicycle, running, and rowing.

After being honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in December 2011, Rob immediately moved to Florida to train for rowing competitions with a partner. He spent five months there, and during that time won the trunk and arms mixed double sculls trials race held by US Rowing to become the US Rowing national team for his boat class.

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Speaker Video

The Rob Jones Journey

Rob Jones Speaker Sample

Rob Jones | A Double-Amputee Veteran's Journey Continues

Rob Jones | Use the Weight | TEDx Talk

Rob Jones on Why He Ran 31 Marathons

The Rob Jones Journey.

Since being discharged honorably from the Marines, Rob Jones has continued to motivate himself to achieve new heights. He shares his story of perseverance and the values-based belief system he uses to stay inspired and keep reaching—including his battle-tested view that the best way to overcome any obstacle, accomplish any goal, and improve yourself is by embracing selflessness.

Rob shares his inspiring personal story and, with a thought-provoking and incredibly moving first-hand story, hammers home the importance of acting in the best interests of those around you and the causes that you care about. Rob has lived this value, as evidenced by his recovery and achievements since his time in the Marines. 

Rob talks about his desire to incite all citizens to action, and how he hopes his life will serve as encouragement for anyone doubting their abilities or the impact they can make. Rob provides audiences with a roadmap for harnessing selflessness to rise to the occasion and take on difficult tasks, inspiring audiences around the world to:

  • Stay on Mission: Understand clearly their “mission” and why it’s so key to stay dedicated despite barriers to success
  • Proof the Lane: Recognize that the responsibility falls to them to be the one to prove what is possible for people like them and to open up possibilities for these people
  • Use the Weight: Become better able to use the stress of a situation to cause the appropriate adaptation in themselves, becoming better because of it

Finding Your Selfless Purpose.

Rob Jones joined the Marine Corps while in a college—a life-changing decision spurred by a realization that courage, brotherhood, and selflessness were missing from his life. His tours in Afghanistan fulfilled these personal vacancies, and he became a combat engineer trained in IED detection. One fateful day, however, an IED exploded at close range to Jones. Physically and emotionally broken, Jones felt “on his own once again,” as the Marine Corps—the reason for his newfound courage, brotherhood, and selflessness—now seemed far out of reach. Deeply inspired by the will-power of other disabled veterans, Jones was soon determined to turn his stresses into strength—not for himself, but for the people he loves. He converted the dismay of his injury into the motivation necessary to become a Paralympic athlete, bike across the country, run 31 marathons in 31 days, and become an example of what veterans can do. Recounting his incredible journey, Rob Jones explains how he pushed himself to greater heights by acting out of selflessness, rather than self-interest.

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