Mercer Island resident Desiree Berry, pictured with her children Beau, 5, and Bear, 3, clinched a berth at the United States Olympic trials after clocking a time of 2:39.17 at the Cal International Marathon on Dec. 2 in Sacramento, California. Shaun Scott, staff photo

Mercer Island resident Desiree Berry, pictured with her children Beau, 5, and Bear, 3, clinched a berth at the United States Olympic trials after clocking a time of 2:39.17 at the Cal International Marathon on Dec. 2 in Sacramento, California. Shaun Scott, staff photo

Berry takes top spot at Cal International Marathon

Mercer Island resident clinches a spot at the USA Olympic trials.

Mercer Island resident Desiree Berry charged toward the finish line with everything she had at the Cal International Marathon this past December in Sacramento, California.

Berry, who saw her children Beau, 5, and Bear, 3, near the finish line, crossed with a spectacular time of 2:39.17 on Dec. 2 on the 26.2-mile course. The blistering time clinched a berth at the United States Olympic trials as well as a Masters National Championship title.

“They just give me a ton of motivation. Just knowing they were going to be at the finish line in the CIM, it got me going those last couple of miles,” Berry explained.

Berry’s strategy to the race was to start off fast in order to separate herself from the pack.

The plan worked to perfection.

“I was a little surprised to run that fast. My goal was to run under a 2:45 (Olympic trials qualifying time is 2:45). I tried to get out fast at the beginning because there was so many feet and so many people. I didn’t want to trip and fall,” Berry said. “I got out to a faster pace for the first couple of miles. It felt so good that I kind of hung with that pace. Once I got halfway through, I kind of did the math and was like even if it goes downhill from here, I will still get under my goal time. I could hear my husband (Matt) and my kids yelling for me at the halfway point. They were there at the finish too.”

Berry, who moved to Mercer Island from Texas last year, created the Mercer Island women’s running group called the Bluebirds in April of 2018. Berry said the support of her fellow runners in the group is inspiring.

“We meet Mondays and Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m. With that group we run anywhere from 8-10 miles (per day) and on the weekends if I’m preparing for a marathon, I will run 18 miles to 24 miles. My longest run was 24 miles,” Barry said. “Leading up to CIM, I was running 50 to 60 miles per week. That is actually pretty low for a marathon runner but is a lot for the average athlete. I did that for probably 10 weeks with two hard workout days as well. Running in that group (Mercer Island Bluebirds) is so much fun. Everyone is so supportive. The miles just fly by.”

Running is a way of life For Berry. During her collegiate days, she ran track at the University of Alabama.

“I also used to be a professional triathlete for 10 years and was doing ironman and half-ironman events,” she said.

The Olympic trials later this year won’t be her first rodeo as a marathoner.

“I did the (Olympic) trials back in 2007 for the 2008 Olympics. It will be good to be back. I will be 43 and just want to go and represent the Master’s women (division) the best I can and try to run as fast as possible. I think it’s going to be really fun and totally different than the last time I went as a youngster (Berry was 31 when she competed last time in 2007),” Berry said. “It will just be a lot of fun. My kids will be out there to watch me.”

More in Sports

Mercer Island Islanders senior wrestler Donnie Howard, left, battles against Yelm’s Derrick Platt, right in the Mat Classic Class 3A 195-pound championship match. Platt earned a 3-2 victory against Howard on Feb. 16 at the Tacoma Dome. Photo courtesy of Billy Pruchno
Sensational senior earns second place at Mat Classic

Mercer Island 195-pound wrestler Donnie Howard finishes a memorable career on the mat.

Mercer Island Islanders senior grappler Eli Pruchno, who competed in the 138-pound weight division, earned three victories at the Mat Classic Class 3A state wrestling tournament on Feb. 15-16 at the Tacoma Dome. Photo courtesy of Billy Pruchno
Pruchno earns three victories at the Mat Classic

Mercer Island Islanders senior grappler Eli Pruchno, who competed in the 138-pound… Continue reading

Three Mercer Island Islanders gymnasts will compete at the Class 3A state meet from Feb. 21-23 at Sammamish High School in Bellevue. Islanders athletes Ava Motroni (beam, vault), Emery Sampson (vault) and Rachel Ressmeyer (bars, floor, vault) will test their skills against the best gymnastics athletes in Washington at the state meet. Photo courtesy of Debra Gibbs
Three Mercer Island athletes will compete at gymnastics state meet

Three Mercer Island Islanders gymnasts will compete at the Class 3A state… Continue reading

Richardson earns top honors at state swim meet

Mercer Island senior takes pair of titles again.

Soccer and hockey take center stage on vacation / Sports Scene

When you’re on vacation, you might as well pack as many vital… Continue reading

Mercer Island Islanders senior swimmer Killian Riley will compete in the 200 free, 100 free, 200 free relay and 400 free relay at the Class 3A state swim and dive championships on Feb. 15-16 in Federal Way. Shaun Scott, staff photo
Riley rises to the occasion in the pool

Mercer Island senior Killian Riley thrives in a quartet of events.

The Lake Washington Kangaroos girls basketball team captured a 64-53 win against the Mercer Island Islanders on senior night on Jan. 30 at Mercer Island High School. The Islanders dropped to 1-18 overall with the loss. Mercer Island seniors Sarah Gest, right, and Rio Beutelspacher, left, try to stop Lake Washington guard Rosa Smith, center, as she drives to the hoop. Photo courtesy of Don Borin/Stop Action Photography
Islanders lose to Kangaroos on senior night

The Lake Washington Kangaroos girls basketball team captured a 64-53 win against… Continue reading

Mercer Island Islanders sophomore Alex Edwards has registered Class 3A state tournament qualifying times in the 200 individual medley, 500 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke, 100 freestyle, 50 freestyle and 200 freestyle in regular-season action during the 2018-19 season. Edwards said he will focus on the 500 free and 200 IM during the postseason this February. Shaun Scott, staff photo
Sophomore phenom is making his presence felt in the pool

Mercer Island swimmer Alex Edwards is a dominant force in the water.

Give it your all in the playoffs and appreciate the moment / Sports Scene

Athletes and coaches have unveiled their best performances in the regular season,… Continue reading

Most Read