Friday night, Mat Jones will begin walking around Lake Hefner.
He'll continue all night long, then shift to bike riding in the morning. After several hours of that, he'll dismount and start running.
By the time he's done, 24 hours will have elapsed.
Twenty-four hours of nonstop motion.
A few years back, Jones wouldn't have lasted 24 minutes. He weighed 460 pounds and worried that his kids were ashamed to be seen with him.
He was embarrassed on a vacation when a friend, just kidding around, said: "Hey, will you move out of the way so I can take a picture of the Grand Canyon?"
Jones, 41, of Edmond, had a variety of health problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. He wasn't happy with his life and feared it would end prematurely if he continued to kill himself one french fry at a time.
On March 10, 2008, he underwent bariatric surgery. He opted for a gastric sleeve procedure, which was relatively new at the time and the lowest cost option available. That was important because his insurance wouldn't pay a cent.
The operation removed most of his stomach. What remained was about the size of a hot dog. After a week spent recovering, he returned to work and eventually started working out regularly. He shed 260 pounds in short order and saw his health improve dramatically.
"I decided that if I was going to spend that much money on an operation, I was going to go all out," Jones said on Wednesday. "I just like the endorphins that kick in from the exercise. The night before last I rode my bike 13 miles and didn't even break a sweat."
Last year, he fulfilled a lifelong dream by hiking to the Mount Everest base camp in Nepal and climbing a 20,300-foot-high peak. This year, he set out on a "quest" to raise enough money to pay for one person, as yet unnamed, to have bariatric surgery.
The walk/cycle/run event at Lake Hefner is a fundraiser to achieve that goal. While Jones is going to remain in motion for 24 consecutive hours, he's inviting others to join him for shorter periods.
"I'll have a team that will be going in shifts for 24 hours," he said. "There'll be a lot of people joining me Friday morning, but only one or two will be there after midnight. We're getting (corporate) sponsors who will donate a certain amount of money for each hour completed, so the more people we get out there moving, the more we'll bring in to help someone get surgery."
Jones had no serious complications from his operation, although it took some time to get used to his new reality. When he returned home from the hospital, a single Brussels sprout was too much food.
"I don't know why I wanted Brussels sprouts, but that's what I wanted," he said. "My wife made them for me, and I tried to eat one. It made me sick."
His capacity increased over time. He can eat half of a wrap sandwich, for example, although he has to eat very slowly.
On the advice of his surgeon, he changed the type of foods he eats, too.
"If it comes in a bag, a box or a can, there's no need for it," he said. "It's just full of additives and stuff that's not good for your body, so get rid of it. No snacks. No pop. We try to eat better. We're not obsessed with it, but we definitely read labels now. ... I haven't eaten a McDonald's meal in over two years and don't plan on ever doing it again."
MAT'S 24-HOUR CHALLENGE
• What: Mat Jones and a team of volunteers will be walking, running and bicycling around Lake Hefner for 24 hours to raise money to pay for someone to have bariatric surgery.
• When: The quest begins at 8 p.m. Friday and continues until 8 p.m. Saturday.
• Where: The starting point and event sign-up will be at Louie's by the Lake restaurant on the east side of Lake Hefner.
• More information: matsquest.com