BATON ROUGE, LA - Dave Jones will one of the thousands of runners in the Louisiana Marathon on Sunday, January 14, but for him, this race means much more.
A year ago, Jones set out to complete what he coined the Eternal Endurance 50/7/365 Challenge, and the marathon will leave him with only one more race to complete to do so.
The Eternal Endurance 50/7/365 Challenge consists of Jones attempting to become the first and only person to ever run a marathon on all seven continents and in all 50 states in less than one year. In January 2017, Jones became one of only four people to run seven official public marathons on all seven continents in less than seven days.
His feat started at the Australia Day Marathon in Perth, Australia on January 25, 2017, and finished just under 167 hours when completed the seventh marathon on King George Island, Antarctica. He traveled from east to west to make it to each official start line in its own time zone and finish under the race's cut-off before traveling to the next race.
After taking February off to rest, Jones proceeded to set out to hit the second half of his goal, running a marathon in all 50 states. He ran marathons and ultra-marathons throughout the spring, and by the end of the summer, he could see the finish line to his goal. By September 1, Jones began registering and making transportation and plans for the remaining 32 states he needed to finish.
"There are very few things in this world that have never been done before, and when I discovered that I was in a position to accomplish one of them, reason went out the window and I had to try," said Jones.
It took a lot of scheduling, road trips, flights, nights sleeping in the car, and being away from his family to accomplish what he has thus far.
Jones often drove his family's minivan and slept in it to be near the start line. He would have to shower at truck stops or in campground showers afterward before hitting the road again. When he had to fly, he often slept in his rental car to keep cost down.
On Sunday when Jones runs the Louisiana Marathon, he will be able to cross state number 49 off his list.
"Now I just pray for continued health while I keep focusing on Hawaii," said Jones. His final race is set to take place in Hawaii on January 18, 2018, just four days after the Louisiana Marathon.
Jones started running five years ago when he weighed 285 pounds and was trying to break a 25-year-old nicotine addiction that saw him smoking two packs per day. He owns a company called Eternal Endurance and is an ultra-endurance coach. He also is a motivational speaker.
Jones is from Hanson, Kentucky and is married with three children; ages 12, 8, and 4.