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Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego

Running for Semper Fi Fund

By Cpl. Pedro Cardenas | Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego | November 01, 2013

San Diego --

Semper Fidelis expresses the bond between Marines. Semper Fidelis, latin for always faithful, is a permanents reminder of how Marines always look out for each other.

For Staff Sgt. Sara M. Pacheco, her passion for running lets give back to injured Marines and the Corps.

She will be running The Boston Marathon in support of the Semper Fi Fund.

The Semper Fi Fund is a nonprofit organization set up to provide financial help for needs that arise during hospitalization, recovery and assistance for members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.

 “As a Marine, I feel what we do best is help each other out,” said Pacheco, an Ottawa, Kan. native. “I thought, what better way to capitalize on the fact that I’m healthy enough to qualify and run the Boston Marathon.”

Pacheco, travel staff noncommissioned officer in charge, Service Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion, is an avid runner who keeps a tough training schedule. She considers her “rest days” to be days where she only runs three miles. According to Pacheco, she never thought she was fast or disciplined enough to run marathons. Now, marathon running is her hobby.

Pacheco believes that running is a powerful yet underused form of stress relief. Running allows her to clear her mind and be at peace. Her Marines can always tell the days she does not run.

“I’ve never regretted getting up and running 22 miles. I’ve always regretted not getting up and not running 22 miles,” said Pacheco. “Sometimes, I get cranky.”

 “I never got competitive until last year when I ran the Marine Corps Marathon,” said 28-year-old Pacheco. “Now I have a bucket list of marathons I want to run.”

Pacheco qualified to run the Boston Marathon by running the Marine Corps Marathon with a time of 3 hours, 23 minutes. One must run another certified marathon under 3 hours, 35 minutes to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

When Pacheco qualified for the Boston Marathon, she was encouraged to get sponsors for the race. As she began to look for sponsors, Pacheco realized she wanted to run for a good cause and not just get subsidized for the expenses.

“I couldn’t do it,” said Pacheco. “I have friends that have been helped by the Semper Fi Fund. I want people to know about it and the good things it does for Marines.”

A fellow runner in Pacheco’s office, Master Sgt. Teresa Arroyo, finance chief, is supportive of Pacheco’s noble cause.  

“I have witnessed the benefits of the Semper Fi Fund,” said Arroyo. “It gives me chills to know one of my Marines is helping the fund that has so much meaning to me.” 

At a previous duty station, Arroyo observed the benefits of the Semper Fi Fund. One of her Marines was terminally ill. The government’s maximum cap is to fund up to three members of a servicemember’s immediate family to fly during life threatening illness. That meant out of the five members of their family two would not be able to make the trip. However, thanks to the Semper Fi Fund, the whole family was able to make the trip and see the Marine one last time.

“When I told her (Pacheco) the story of the Marine and the special meaning that fund has for me, I think it gave her more motivation and drive to run the marathon,” said Arroyo a Freeport, Texas native.

Both Arroyo and Pacheco are running the San Francisco Women’s Nike Marathon on Oct. 20 in support of the Leukemia Foundation. Then, Pacheco will be running the 38th Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 27; and the Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014.

“I want ‘I support our troops’ to be more than a slogan,” said Pacheco.  “I want to entice people and get them to understand how amazing this organization is.”


  • SSgt Pacheco 355 days ago

    This is the direct link and you can track my training progress/donate through it.
  • SSGt Pacheco 355 days ago
    I can't thank the Chevron enough for writing this story. Semper Fi Fund is such an amazing organization all about taking care of Marines. If you are interested in donating or learning more, please visit the following link:


    My goal is to raise 10,000 for this organization. Every dollar counts!

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