By Cady Kuzmich
Clifton Park– There comes a time in every distance runner’s life when the relationship between satisfaction and pain becomes clear. Speed workouts and long runs may hurt, but they’ll make you stronger and faster — eventually the early morning weekend runs, blisters and missing toenails become routine. You might even start looking forward to the early Sunday morning long runs.
“Running is a sport that requires minimal talent and full effort,” according to Shenendehowa senior J.P. Perez. With four years of outdoor track and three years of cross country under his belt, 17 year old Perez has an appreciation for the sport and the patience it requires.
“You’re not necessarily the happiest when you’re actually doing it but there is no greater feeling than when you’re crossing the finish line. You feel like you’re dying but if you know you’re doing your best, you feel good,” said Perez. “It’s satisfying.”
Though Perez has called Clifton Park home for the last eight years, Perez spent the first five years of his life living in Indiana, where his father was pursuing his doctorate, and New Mexico. When his father’s work offered an opportunity to move back to their native Mexico, Perez, his young sister Ana and his parents moved to Queretaro, a city in central Mexico.
“I liked it a lot. It’s a beautiful city with a good combination of modern buildings and innovation blended with old style architecture and traditional artisan markets. It’s a city with high contrasts,” said Perez.
After four years at a bilingual school in Queretaro, Perez moved to Clifton Park with his family. “It’s peaceful here. I like it but sometimes I feel like there’s not enough to do. It’s quiet — tranquil,” said Perez. Today his father is a mechanical engineer and his mother is a data analyst.
“A modern classroom here and a modern classroom there are not that different,” according to Perez. “The differences are subtle. There are great institutions of learning in Mexico but some of the public schools aren’t as nice as they are here,” he said.
Perez visits family in Mexico City at least once every two years. After talking about the mix of urbanization and tradition in Mexico, Perez described feeling a similar struggle for balance within himself. “It’s a struggle between two worlds. I’ve enjoyed being bilingual,” he said.
Northeastern University, Notre Dame, RPI, SUNY Stony Brook and SUNY Binghamton are all on Perez’s college radar. Wherever he goes, he hopes to study physics and engineering. Perez hasn’t decided whether he wants to run at the college level. “For now, I’m just enjoying the cross country season and the training” he said.
In 10 years Perez would like to be pursuing his doctorate in physics or engineering. “I like to see how the world breaks down mathematically,” he said.
Q: If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose?
A: Jorge Luis Borges. He wrote about fantastical worlds and [incorporated] social and political commentary in them in the 1940s. He discussed theology, religion and other complex topics in simplistic stories. I’d like to know what inspired him.
Q: What are a couple of your favorite bands?
A: Of Monsters and Men. Coldplay.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: Grand Budapest Hotel and Star Wars.
Q: What’s your favorite book?
A: The Lord of the Rings trilogy.