More than Mud is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.
Who and what are the Unbreakable Joneses?
We are a family of 5. We have my Dad and Mom (Andrew and Stephanie Jones), myself (Eston Jones), and my two sisters (Caymin and Madison Jones). We all race competitively mainly in Obstacle Course racing. My Dad and I (we go by Thing 1 and Thing 2) spend all day running the course and helping people. We will run 2, 3, sometimes up to 6 laps of a race course, the whole while helping people conquer obstacles, keep motivated, and many times just help with words of encouragement. We have set the record at many races for number of laps done in one day. Not only do we try to help people ON the course, we also want to help people get in shape, be more confident, and live better, healthier lives OFF the course. Three times a week we put on a FREE circuit training for anybody and everybody who can make it. It is a full body workout and we throw traditional "weight lifting" out the door and put in its place a fun, unique, and effective workout system that people have had tremendous results with. We have about 35 to 50 people come out every night and we have had about 300 different people come through. But its not just about getting fit, our circuit is a family affair. We have had people become much closer with their kids, their spouses, or their parents, because they come out to the circuit.... and they are working toward a common goal, together. Many families are spending bonding time that they may have never had before, with us! We also build confidence. We show people that a little hard work will go a long way and that even the most difficult to reach or long shot goals, ARE achievable if you keep at it. The circuits aren't easy..... but they show people the power that they have in themselves to conquer anything that comes their way.
Prior to 2007, we were a very non active family. We didn’t exercise or eat healthy or do anything to help our bodies out. None of us had ever been athletes, lifted weights, or run at all. We were at the park one day just tossing the Frisbee and playing around and my dad was out of breath doing all of it. He was tired of this, tired of not being able to keep up and play around with his kids. So we decided to start exercising and getting healthy. We started working out 3 days a week for about an hour, and as the months went on, it became more often and for longer times. Skipping ahead, in 2011 after doing different types of training for 4 years, we noticed our first Obstacle Race. It looked challenging, crazy, and fun so we signed up for a 9 mile Spartan Race even though none of us had ever run in our lives. We trained for 2 or 3 months to try to be better at running, and after participating in our first OCR, we were hooked. During this time, we were approached by a few neighbors who asked if they could pay us to train them. Because of the difficulty that exists in first starting to get healthy, especially the monetary toughness, we wanted to try to give back in any way we could to help relieve this problem. So we began the free circuits in February 2012. As our desire to do more OCR races grew, so did the number of people who attended our circuits. Through the Spring of 2012, because of our training and involvement in the community, we started to be known as the fitness family, workout family, or other such names. So since we always talked about training to be unbreakable, we thought why not be the Unbreakable Joneses. At that point we created a Facebook page to help people keep in contact with us about the circuits and any OCRs we were doing.
As for Thing 1 and Thing 2, on one particular OCR my dad wanted to run together just for fun. We decided to paint the words Thing 1 on his chest and Thing 2 on mine just as something lighthearted to do since we weren’t competing. During the course we ended up helping many many people over the obstacles and throughout the entire course. At the next race we went to we didn’t paint the names on and to our surprise people recognized us as Thing 1 and Thing 2 and asked why we didn’t have it on. So from there, since we had so much fun helping people both at races and in our circuits, we decided to keep Thing 1 and Thing 2. We would push our limits by running in the elite heat for time for our competitive side, but then we would continue on and run multiple laps helping people along the way. As time went on and we became stronger, we were able to do more laps and from there help more people. Eventually we started to do different things on our extra laps. Carry sledgehammers, go tethered at the wrist, go blindfolded, etc. We did this to show people that if we can run all day long doing multiple laps and all of these crazy things, then anybody can do it once. It may take you all day, and that’s okay, but anybody can finish.
For the first year or so of Thing 1 and Thing 2/Unbreakable Joneses, T1 & T2 got all the recognition at the races and UBJ got all the recognition at the circuits. The fact that the UBJ ladies didn’t get any credit at the races bothered myself and my dad because without them crewing for us after their race, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do all day long. So, as hard as we work at the races, they work as hard or harder. My dad and I decided to start writing Unbreakable Joneses on our back so people would know that Thing 1 and 2 were part of a bigger, stronger family. That is what UBJ is all about, showing people that you have a bigger, stronger family, whether or not the members are blood. There will always be Thing 1 and Thing 2, but it is only a small portion of the Unbreakable Joneses.
What is the favorite race experience you can remember?
Because every race is so different and we interact with so many different people on each course, it would be impossible to pick a favorite moment. Each one impacts our lives, as a family, in different but powerful ways.
What inspires and drives you to compete?
Individually, we are all very competitive. We are always competing amongst each other. This friendly family competition makes sure we are all striving to be our best. As a family, as UBJ, seeing all the people out on the course and at our circuit overcome obstacles, push their limits and conquer them, inspires us to see how far we can push ours.
Where do you see the sport of OCR going in the next few years? Anything you'd like to see happen?
Honestly, we don’t know where it is going to go. Its such a new and quickly growing beast that it could go anywhere at this point. We would love to see the sport grow and get more popular. As this is our passion, we would love to share it with more people and have this community grow and succeed.
What's next for you - what are your goals in 2015?
We just finished running the Chicago Super 4 times in a row. I (Eston) placed 4th in the elites, our second lap was with family and friends, 3rd lap was tethers, and 4th lap with Sledgehammers, all done within the time restraints of Spartan. The weekend of October 4th we have the original Mud Run and are going to attempt it 3 or 4 times. October 25th will be the Cactus Rose 100 mile race. Then the Texas Spartan Beast and Mississippi Sprint. As for 2015, we will start scheduling in November but we would love to go to every race that we can monetarily manage to get to.
Anything else you'd like to add?
It isn’t our quote, it is part of Walt Disney’s quote, but it is one that you, like us, can live by whether you are on the course or in the everyday world. “Keep moving Forward”. As for UBJ, we will continue to strive to be unbreakable.