Perez wins inaugural Zoo Marathon


Special to the Miami Herald

Miami Springs’ Joseph Perez, 35, took top honors in the inaugural Miami Half Marathon at Zoo Miami on Saturday.

Perez finished with a time of 1:18:13.

“We started out in the parking lot,” Perez said. “We traversed the outside of the zoo on a packed gravel course. Then we entered the zoo, running past elephants, lions and gorillas. The animals were making lots of noises. I don’t know [what] you would call it. The animals were getting into it. I don’t think they were used to seeing so many people running through there.”

Perez is yet another weekend warrior who has shown great promise and success over the past few years. Perez works during the week as a part of the support team at Ultimate Software, and on the side he coaches the Wolf Pack Triathlon team.

His employer has shown a great amount of support in his training and coaching efforts by allowing him the time off whenever he needs.

Perez along with four of his 12 students — Mikey Witte, Ola Besser, Jess Anderson and Eli Stiers — have qualified for the 2014 World Triathlon Champion to be held in Edmonton, Alberta, in late August.

Perez, an All-American triathlete, made an appearance in last year’s WTC held in Europe but faced some technical problems which caused him to be disqualified.

“The water was under 60 degrees so the swim was canceled, and that hurt me since swimming is my strongest event,” Perez described. “I managed to finish in the top 30 on the bike, but [my] shoelace broke during the run. I ran the last four miles barefoot, and when I got to the finish the official told me I was disqualified for running the race without shoes.”

Perez qualified for the WTC after being named All-American, and the other teams made it by finishing in the top 24 per division/age group in the United States, Perez said.

For Perez the run isn’t his strongest event, so he is trying to perfect his running by competing in several half marathons.

“I will be running in the Miami Half Marathon and the A1A Half Marathon next,” Perez said. “I swam competitively throughout high school and into to college. Swimming comes naturally for me where as other people are strong in the run or on the bike. Running is the least strongest of the three despite my finish this weekend.”

Also placing in the top of the Female Masters division was Wolf Pack Tri teammate Caryn Lubetsky, 42, of Miami Shores, who finished with a time of 1:33:34.

Placing second overall, Lubetsky, was just over two minutes behind the top overall female, Rachelle Ginsberg, 35, of Miami Beach. Ginsberg finished in 1:31:00.

For more information on his team, visit

If you would like you have your event showcased in The Miami Herald please email Corey W. Campbell, at, or @CoreyWCampbell on Twitter.

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