Finishing a marathon takes a state of mind that says anything is possible. That strong state of mind influenced a doctor at McAfee U.S. Army Health Clinic on White Sands Missile Range to complete about one hundred marathons, several Ironman races and eleven 100-mile races.
Capt. Miguel Perez, an occupational medicine physician at McAfee, ran his eleventh 100-mile race Jan. 23 in Phoenix, Arizona. The 33-year-old doctor not only completed the race, but finished first overall with a time of 19 hours and 44 minutes.
“I had my perfect race,” he said. “I never really hit a wall and just felt really good. I actually ran the last 40 miles quicker than the first 60 miles.”
Perez, who grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico, started running in tenth grade. His real passion growing up was tennis, and he simply ran to stay in tip-top shape for tennis. He went to college at the University of Puerto Rico on a scholarship for tennis.
After college he decided to join the U.S. Army in the footsteps of his father who has been a physician in the Reserves for 30 years. The Army paid for Perez to complete medical school. He did his internship at Fort Gordon, Georgia, and his residency at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Maryland, before moving to WSMR.
“I ran the entire time I was in medical school, even though many of those weeks were 80-hour weeks for me,” he said. “I really got into running when I moved to Georgia because we only had one marathon in Puerto Rico and no races more than 26 miles long. Then, when I moved to Maryland, I joined a running club and started running races every weekend, including Ironman and 100-milers.”
Perez receives a lot of support from his family, to include his wife, Lymaris, and their two children ages 7 and 4. His wife is an accomplished runner as well with ten marathons under her belt and three 50K races.
“We have always enjoyed running together,” said Lymaris. “We ran through the rainforests in Puerto Rico, and now we run through the beautiful mountains here in New Mexico.”
While in New Mexico, Perez keeps up with his training by running everywhere he goes. Instead of commuting in a car, he can be seen running around the post with a backpack to work, the commissary and his kids’ sporting events.
Perez averages about 10 miles per day and spends his weekends running long-distance races. His future running plans include the Boston Marathon in April which he qualified for after completing the Albuquerque Marathon seventh overall. He also mentioned a 200-mile race that interests him, although he hasn’t committed to the race yet.
“I’m a competitive runner,” said Perez. “This is a way of life for me. Completing each and every race is relentless forward progress, which means if you are moving forward, you are doing great. I apply this ideology to everything I do in my life.”