Dave Jones uses a creative way to connect the public with coal.

Dave Jones, from Hanson, Kentucky, has accomplished something in the past year that very few people have ever attempted. Since he completed his first marathon, the Southern Indiana Classic, on April 6, 2013, he has finished a total of 16 marathons and a 112-mile ultra-marathon, in 17 different states. Six months before that first marathon, he was 275 lbs, couldn’t run 0.5 miles, and had never ran a 5k. He has now run full marathons on a broken foot, a dislocated foot, and with a bad case of food poisoning at the Disney Marathon in January.

Last month, on April 21, Jones used all of his training to support the coal industry and his country through a Coal Awareness Campaign at the Boston Marathon. He ran the 118th Boston Marathon wearing his low rider hard hat and a bright red shirt that on the front said, “Stop human suffering. Support American coal.” The back read, “Coal is a red herring! Coal power plants only emit 4% of total greenhouse gases in the USA. In return… Coal produces over 40% of America’s electricity and

  • Eliminating American coal would raise electric rates 40%+
  • Affordable electricity prevents homelessness, creates jobs, and saves lives in so many ways.
  • Don’t get caught up in the hype and increase human suffering


For almost no impact on climate change!”

For this campaign, Jones raised money for FamilyAid Boston. FamilyAid Boston works with families at all stages, from homelessness to housing, by providing homelessness prevention assistance, emergency shelter and permanent, affordable housing in conjunction with support services. Along the way, they work with families to identify and address the problems that led to their current crisis. Their goal is for the families they serve to remain housed, stable, and able to provide for themselves long after they leave FAB care.

“The first people to be harmed by the war on coal are the poor and homeless,” Jones said. “As electricity rates have spiked this winter due to the impact of shutting down dozens of power plants, many more poor have lost their homes and homeless families can’t afford to get back into housing. People in ‘non-coal areas’ simply aren’t aware of how much good coal does for our society with so little impact on the environment. Good-hearted people have been deceived into believing that eliminating coal will save the planet. I’m trying to shine a light on the fact that this war is killing Americans and multiplying suffering for almost nothing.”

Jones raised awareness for the issue, and also raised $10,580 for FamilyAid. His Gold Medal donors were: Alana J. Jones, Alliance Natural Resources, the Count on Coal Campaign, GMS Mine Repair, Kentucky Coal Association, Murray Energy, and the National Mining Association. Silver Medal Donors included a Hollywood film production company, Emphatic Films, which is currently making a coal mining movie; West Kentucky Coal Association; and the West Virginia Coal Association. Bronze Medal donors were the Indiana Coal Council and Red Bone Mining. There were also multiple smaller individual donations to the cause.

“Many mining companies, coal miners, vendors, friends, family members, and members of communities that rely on coal made donations to this cause and I appreciate every single one who made this campaign a success,” he said. “I got a lot of interesting looks and comments, as I expected a big guy running the Boston Marathon in a mining hard hat would. Some of the comments were positive, others weren’t, but thousands of people read my shirt and a lot of seeds were planted that day.”

Jones can be contacted at coalrunner@getlowpro.com.

He is a husband and father of three and the director of midwest operations for GMS Mine Repair and Maintenance Inc., a company who provides contract coal miners to most mining companies in the United States.

“A healthy coal industry means we can keep providing good jobs to the folks who keep the lights on, this campaign helps our communities and the country as a whole,” he said. “Donors had the opportunity to support local jobs and homeless families with their donation — this was a win-win.”