Jen and Jessica Berry

2019 Boston Marathon Preview

“This run this year means so much to me!”

Former Marines and twin sisters, Jen and Jessica Berry, prepare to represent the Semper Fi Fund at the 2019 Boston Marathon.

“This year’s Boston marathon won’t be the first marathon I’ve run with my sister,” said Jen, “but ultimately will be the biggest marathon we’ve ever run together." Jen and her sister have competed in the Marine Corps Marathon three times together, and this is her first Boston Marathon.

Watching her sister run the 2018 Boston Marathon motivated Jen to become a Semper Fi Fund community Athlete. “Watching my sister run in the horrendous weather last year, and the support from the Semper Fi Fund, is what did it for me. I was a prior Marine as well, so feeling like I’m a part of something much bigger than myself felt natural. Knowing that the Semper Fi Fund provides support to those like my sister really made me want to be a part of that experience. After having seen the outpouring of support at last year’s Boston Marathon, I knew I had to be a part of that.”

Jessica first heard about the Fund about five years ago. The Semper Fi Fund has assisted her in sports-related recovery for her PTSD and also family support such as sending her son to camp over the summer. Jessica ran in Boston in 2018 with Team Semper Fi. “I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to run Boston again this year,” Jessica says. “I’m not a fast runner, and Boston has always been a dream marathon for me to run. I would never be able to qualify with my time, but I was given the opportunity last year and the weather was just horrible. I truly don’t remember any part of the race except the beginning… I am proud and grateful to run with and represent the Semper Fi Fund—this run this year means so much to me.”

Jen and Jessica Berry
Jen Berry

Jessica emphasizes the therapeutic aspect that running provides, “I’m able to process a lot of my thoughts during long runs. A lot of thoughts are just random meaningless stuff, but when the miles start adding up, I start to think about my fears, my struggles, what I’ve been through, and how with each step I take its a part of my process for recovery”.

“Marathons are hard on the body and mind,” she continues, “but what keeps me going is my son. I have to set a good example for him to never quit, even when things are hard. I tell myself that I’ve set a goal and I have to accomplish it, no matter how much I’m hurting. The feeling of accomplishment when crossing the finish line is motivation in itself that all of the time and training and sacrifice was worth it.”

Both sisters display unbelievable strength and perseverance through their participation in running. Jen, who has endured 14 knee surgeries explains, “Just crossing the finish line is what drives me in each of my races. I’ve had a lot of people tell me I shouldn’t be out there or I won’t finish because of my disability, but I keep going and I’m out there to prove that despite having a disability that can work against you, there are still people out there doing the best they can and finishing events no one ever thought they could or would. Being able to put that effort in for the Semper Fi Fund, which provides such great services to veterans, is the best feeling ever”.

Jen and Jessica Berry
Jen and Jessica Berry

“The Semper Fi Fund is an amazing organization,” adds Jen. “I know firsthand they work miracles, because I’ve seen such a difference in my sister since she became part of the team. I would encourage everyone to look up the Fund and help support their mission.”

Jessica adds to her sister’s enthusiasm for the Fund, “I am so grateful to such a supportive Semper Fi Fund staff at the sporting events I’m a part of,” notes Jessica. “I truly feel like I matter to somebody within the organization, that people truly do care about me and that if I needed anything, I know my case manager will do anything to help me out”.

“I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to run Boston again this year,” she continues. “I’m not a fast runner, and Boston has always been a dream marathon for me to run. I would never be able to qualify with my time, but I was given the opportunity last year and the weather was just horrible. I truly don’t remember any part of the race except the beginning; I think somewhere along the line I started getting hypothermia but anyhow I get to go back and run the course again and hopefully truly enjoy the iconic course instead of merely just surviving the weather like last year. I am proud and grateful to run with and represent the Semper Fi Fund – this run this year means so much to me."