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Blind Chesterfield runner completes NYC Marathon

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 5:57 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2021 at 5:58 PM EST
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - The VCU Health Richmond Marathon is this upcoming weekend, and one Chesterfield man who normally takes part in the race is opting out after finishing the New York City Marathon blind.

Taylor Jones has been running almost all of his life but in 2014 he was in a coma after crashing his car into a porch on his way home from a friend’s house. The crash left him blind and doctors were unsure if he would be able to walk again.

Jones says when he woke up and was told what happened his first thought was he did not want what happened to take control of his life. During physical therapy in 2015 Jones says he told his therapist that he wanted to run again.

“This was just right after my car crash and I told my therapist, oh I would love to do a full marathon,” Jones said. “She kinda laughed at me and was like wait what?”

Weeks later, Jones was able to walk again on his own, and working with guide runners he competed in multiple races over the years from 5K’s to half marathons.

He had yet to go the distance of 26.2 miles until his friend, Dan Beckmann asked Jones again about the goal he set six years ago to run a marathon.

“He asked when are you gonna do like the actual race like the full,” Jones said. " I was like a full marathon I don’t know man.”

Beckmann agreed to run a marathon with him and act as his guide runner but Jones wanted to finish the race to mean something more than just him.

Before his crash in 2014, Jones’s mother passed away due to breast cancer.

Partnering with the Livestrong Foundation, Jones was able to create a fundraiser with one of the races the organization works with.

“The next one or one of their biggest ones throughout the year is the New York City Marathon, which seems kinda crazy, it’s the biggest marathon in the world,” Jones said. “But why not, why not be a little crazy and challenge with that.”

After months of training, the race was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but Jones and Beckmann were pulled out of a lottery to be two of 33,000 runners to participate this year.

On Sunday the two were tied together, Beckmann would tap Jones for more than 26 miles when there was a turn, a pothole, or another runner he may run into.

The pair both wearing shirts that said courage over fear, something his mother would tell him.

“As we’re running we’re wearing shirts that have courage over fear in bright pink letters across the chest and people were yelling it as we run by,” Jones said.

After finishing just over five and a half hours Jones says this is not the end of his marathon career but he hopes his story will inspire others.

“My hope is to be able to pass that along to other people and be able to show them through my mom and other people that courage is strong,” Jones said.

Jones said while he won’t be running the Richmond Marathon this weekend he will be there to support other athletes and his little sister.

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