Orange’s Jones overcomes injury to complete Boston Marathon

UP Courtesy photo

UP Courtesy photo

Orange resident David Jones recently ran in the 2017 Boston Marathon accomplishing more than simply finished a race. While there were more than 30,000 participants, no one was more motivated than Jones.

“I’ve always told myself if I’m going to do something I need to give 100 percent or don’t do it all — go hard or go home,” he said.

In 2011, Jones was in a car accident while riding in the backseat of a truck. When the truck crashed, he flew through the sunroof breaking his wrist, which required nine surgeries to fix. For the first few months, he could not even grip a water bottle.

“In the beginning I wondered if I would ever be able to use my hand again,” he said.

After his last surgery, Jones said he wanted to accomplish something to show gratitude for his recovery.

“I had been through so much after the accident — I needed a reason to come back and God sent me that reason,” he said.

Jones was a member of the Little Cypress-Mauriceville school board and was attending a meeting in 2013 and listening to a speaker who was a two-time world champion runner.

“The speaker, Robyn Benincasa, changed my life,” he said. “The subject of her lecture was about goals. She shared with us how she had been in a serious injury, and right before she came out of the hospital she set a comeback goal for herself.”

Jones said the speech inspired him to set his own comeback goal. His first thought was to start working out just to get healthy again.

“After the speech ended, I went to speak with Robyn,” he said. “She noticed that I was wearing a wrist brace and asked why I had that on. I told her about my accident and she asked me what my comeback goal was. After telling her what I had in mind she suggested that I start training to become a runner.”

Jones said he had never been a serious runner, although he would sometimes run to stay in shape, but could never run a mile faster than 11 minutes and 30 seconds.

“At first I told her that she was crazy, then I actually considered it,” he said. “She then told me, I’ll see you at the finish line.”

Jones started training in 2013 after his final surgery. He completely changed his diet and started running many times during the week. His first marathon was the Gusher in 2014 in Beaumont. After that he ran many different races, including the Canyon Run in 2015.

Running the Boston Marathon was never a goal, Jones said, as he always thought that race was out of reach and impossible. His running coach recommended that he at least give it a shot and start training for it.

“The usual training takes about 20 weeks, but I did it in 14,” he said. “Those weeks were tough. I had a foot injury and even had a stomach virus the week before I left for Boston.”

Jones said he set a goal to change someone’s life through his experience.

“I knew if I was going to run in the Boston Marathon, I wouldn’t be motivated enough to do it only for me,” he said. “Two families in my community had lost children in the past to cancer, and I decided to run for them.”

The Cure Starts Now Foundation, a charity directed towards childhood cancer, seemed like the perfect cause to get him motivated.

“During the fourteen weeks that I trained for the marathon, I raised money for the foundation to give as a donation,” he said.

Jones was able to raise a total of $10,081.

“Running for someone else other than myself is what pushed me to run,” he said. “I simply was running to be strong for other people.”

He wore a T-shirt during the race that read, “Running for Indy and Corbin,” the children who lost their battle with cancer.

“During the race, people would read my shirt on the sidelines and

start shouting those names,” he said. “It was crazy. Those shouted names is what helped me to keep pushing.”

Jones set a goal to finish the race in less than four hours. He finished in four hours and two minutes. His mile pace throughout the run averaged about nine minutes and fifteen seconds.

“There were times towards the middle of the run where I wasn’t enjoying myself,” he said. “It’s the most difficult thing I have ever done, but I never thought about quitting.”

Jones had a support system that he said pushed him to keep going. He had friends, family, and supporters who were following him through social media to keep up with his experience.

“When I finally crossed the finish line I felt a whirlwind of emotions,” he said. “I truly cannot even explain it. I was so proud of myself and how far I had come from my injury. I was able to accomplish something that I felt was impossible.”

Jones said he is humbled by the experience. The 48 year old said his running days are over and he plans to move onto the next chapter in his life. His new goal?

“My plan is to just live life,” he said.

Baylee Billiot

UP contributor

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