Patriot stops in Lubbock on his journey running 76 marathons in 76 days
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Extreme endurance athlete and Marine veteran Tom Jones is in Lubbock for a few days along his journey to run 76 marathons in 76 consecutive days. He’ll run tomorrow morning on the Texas Tech campus between 6 and 11 a.m., starting near University Ave. and Glenna Goodacre.
He’s running one marathon a day in cities along his route from Montevallo, Alabama, to Washington County, Utah. He says the run is for his love of the United States and to raise awareness and funds for the nonprofit United We Pledge. The nonprofit plans to build an American Village in Utah, like the one that already exists in Alabama.
“An American Village is a magic place. It’s a place that has recreations of buildings that were instrumental in the independence of our country, the Revolutionary War, and besides the Bible, what I feel is the greatest document ever, which is the Constitution of the United States of America,” Jones said.
Inside the American Village, people play the roles of instrumental figures in American history, like George Washington and Ben Franklin. Jones says instead of taking weekend trips all over the country to get this experience, kids and families can now go to one place.
“They can go in one day and get this experience in this magic place that allows them to go back in time and become part of the story, part of the revolution, part of the constitution, part of that period of time.”
Jones served in the Marine Corps for four years and he says his first step back onto U. S. soil after each deployment, he kissed the ground he was standing on.
“I’ve been deployed all over the world, to the Middle East, to the Far East, and everywhere in between. And I’ve been to so many countries that don’t enjoy the freedoms that so many of us take for granted.”
He hopes his run and the new village will encourage patriotism in children. He says the American village will change the country in a positive way going forward.
“The reason that it’s important for the kids to to realize patriotism’s important, that freedom is important, is because it’s their future. They’re the ones that are going to inherit this place,” Jones said. “I believe some of them will run for political office. Some of them will go out and vote that probably wouldn’t have, some of them will probably appreciate the United States of America that may not have.”
His time in Lubbock is even more meaningful during Memorial Day weekend. He says since the Revolutionary War, servicemembers have sacrificed everything so that Americans can enjoy their freedoms.
“Today’s an incredibly important day because those people aren’t here to enjoy their barbecue, their family, their freedom. They gave their life so that you can.”
From Huntington Beach, California, Jones is a World Champion prize fighter and world-record holder in paddleboarding. He grew up in the foster care system. When he was 12, he was removed from his home and placed into a foster care facility run by pedophiles. He says he endured living there for several years before running away and joining the Marine Corps. In 1998, a foster care facility in his area needed a playground, so he came up with the idea to run from Oregon to Mexico to help raise money for it. Since then, he’s dedicated his athletic ability to worthwhile causes.
“And when we dedicated that playground, at that moment I knew that my life had meaning, and I knew what I was going to do with my life from that time on,” Jones said. “I think that we have two choices in life - we can make ourselves the victim or the victor and so I chose to be the victor.”
You can donate to the United We Pledge American Village West fundraiser here: https://unitedwepledge.org/v2v/. The company Balance of Nature is matching dollar for dollar, up to $5 million.
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