JesterJogs reflects on running for a cause in the Boston Marathon


Jamie Brenner and Esther Ahn from TikTok account JesterJogs cross the Boston Marathon finish line. Photo by Boston Athletic Association.

Nick Collins

Jamie Brenner and Esther Ahn, the dynamic duo behind the TikTok account “JesterJogs,” have completed their monumental task of running the 127th annual Boston Marathon. Following up on their tremendously noble feat, Brenner and Ahn sat down for an interview that reflected on the triumphs, trials and tribulations they went through during the grueling race.

Both Brenner and Ahn experienced a whirlwind of emotions throughout the course of the marathon, especially in the beginning of the race. Brenner pointed out, “when we started, we were just a bit overwhelmed. There’s so, so, so many people, especially being in the fourth wave, which people call the ‘fun run’ because it’s not people that qualify. But there’s so many people; the whole first three miles, you’re gridlocked […] it is tight. There’s no speeding up or slowing down.” Ahn added it was “like sardines” in reference to how compact the race was at the beginning.

As time went on, reality began to set in for the two. Ahn said, “It starts to spread out, and you’re like ‘okay, now we can just start jogging it out.’ […] The entire time, I don’t think we were ever like ‘we want this to end!’ I think at mile 10, I was like ‘No! We’re already at 10, this is so sad!” Brenner bounced off of Ahn’s comments, “The whole time, we were like ‘We’re already halfway done?!’ […] it’s surreal—the feelings. I cried the entire time along the way […] I can’t even describe it.”

One of the cooler aspects of running the marathon is the outwave of support you receive as you’re running—from complete strangers no less. Both touched upon the subject and showed their appreciation toward the crowds. “It was so much fun […] we had our names written down on our arms and our shirts, so everyone was screaming ‘Go Esther! Go Jamie!’ […] Everyone is screaming no matter where you are,” Ahn said with excitement.

Regarding the colder, rainy weather on Patriots’ Day, Brenner praised the people who set up camp along the route, and mentioned how they got over the messy forecast. “We were definitely comfortable. We ran in tank tops and leggings […] nothing can really bring you down when you’re running that race […] people on the sidelines are so nice. People were handing out dry socks […] all the med tents had vaseline in case you had blisters or anything on your feet […] they want to make it enjoyable. Families plan for this day, and they tailgate the whole thing; we had freeze pops, orange slices, pickles, pretzels. People had sandwiches they were handing out.”

If anything, the togetherness of Boston and its metropolitan area is always brought to light on Patriots’ Day. Runners facing the tough task of completing the annual event are appreciated in these thoughtful, community oriented gestures, and they were put on full display April 17. Of course, runners were still facing tribulations, many of which were physical and mental battles. Brenner discussed some of the cons of getting through the pain-staking 26.2 mile race.

“I said afterwards that I wish we had done a 20 mile training run instead of 16 because miles 16 to 20 were very hard and mentally tough, but 20 to 26, you know you’ll get there. That’s adrenaline the whole entire way. But that 16 to 20 stretch…mile 19, I was hurting so bad. My legs were completely cramped up, my quads were seizing […] I feel like we were running in silence because neither of us wanted to say how bad we were hurting. […] But then once you’re over heartbreak hill and you make it into the city and turn onto Commonwealth [Avenue], and you see the Citgo sign and know you’re almost there […] you’re like ‘let’s just keep going.’”

Not only did Brenner and Ahn appreciate the fans cheering them on, but also the team of their organization, Project HOPE, as well as their family and friends screaming their name along the way. Brenner said, “My family was at mile six, [Ahn’s] family was at 16. Our other two roommates were also at 16, my boyfriend and a couple of hometown friends were at 17, and then our family was there again at the finish line. Those are points that you look forward to; once you see your family it reminds you ‘oh, this is how many miles I have left.’”

Regarding Project HOPE, Brenner and Ahn provided some kind words for the organization. “It was awesome,” Brenner said enthusiastically. “They had tons of sandwiches, food, massage therapists for the runners […] I had 20 people there and they were like ‘Oh, they can all come up!’ They were so nice and welcoming to everybody, they were the best team and charity to run for […] and they’re so appreciative; we wanted to do it. This was always our dream to run the Boston Marathon, but they are so appreciative and are saying ‘thank you.’ They were like, ‘this is the biggest fundraiser of the whole year.’ This gives them so much money to allow Project HOPE to keep functioning. To us, we’re like ‘thank you for letting us run for you!’”

Two weeks removed from the marathon, Brenner and Ahn have reflected on the accomplishment of a lifetime in completing a daunting race that takes loads of skill, endurance and grit. The two went through the ups and downs of training over the course of this past year, and with the event now behind them, there’s a lot to look back on, not to mention some things to look forward to in the future.