Year Inducted: 2021
Steve Perez’s contribution to running in the Dayton area spans high school, college, and post-collegiate careers. Steve is one of those rare runners who excelled at distances ranging from the mile up to the marathon.
Steve ran track and cross country from 1982-1984 at Beavercreek high school (BHS) in Ohio. His senior year is when he found his pace and started showing signs of what was to come. He won the mile (4:20) in a tactical race at the 1984 OHSAA Dayton District Championship. He also was a part of the BSH 2 mile relay team that placed 6th at the state meet.
As a two year captain and four year letterman (1985-1988) of the Wright State University cross country team, Steve was a consistent leader for DDRHOF coach Mike Baumer both on the course and in the classroom. Steve ran varsity in every meet of his career, rarely finishing out of the top four on the team.
During the summer and after graduation, Steve like so many local talented distance runners, found training and racing opportunities with the Bob Schul Racing Team as well as with Chris Prior and Jeﬀ Rawlings where he began to hone his marathon training. He raced every distance from the mile to the marathon with success. He possessed both the speed for the mile and the mind and endurance for the marathon.
In the summer of 1990, after finishing his MBA at Indiana University where he trained under Coach Sam Bell, Steve took a cross-country bicycle trip from Portland, Oregon back to Dayton, Ohio. Along the way, with a stopover in Boulder to visit Chris Prior, Steve was able to do some training with eventual World Championships medalist and Olympian Steve Spence, and multiple age-group world record holder, Sean Wade, along with Prior. Upon returning to Dayton, with ten weeks of bicycling in his legs and just a couple of weeks of running, Steve entered the Columbus marathon and ran his PR of 2:29:56.
In 1992, Steve trekked his way down to Alabama alongside Jeﬀ Rawlings to race the Huntsville Rocket City marathon. Steve recorded a 2:32:06 in diﬃcult weather conditions.
Steve’s prime as a competitive runner lasted from 1988-1994 with some very impressive performances. He continued to show his range of talent with seven marathons (all of which he finished in under 3 hours) including wins at the ORRRC marathon in both 1990 (2:53:24) and 1991 (2:46:19) on the Farmersville course which was widely considered the toughest marathon course in Ohio at the time; a win at the Merritt Mile (4:13) in Cincinnati as he beat Andrew Shepard ( Olympic steeplechaser for Great Britain); a win at the Total Fitness Lifestyle 5 miler as he beat fellow hall of fame member Dave Lee and Olympian Jeﬀ Galloway; a win at the Cincinnati Hudy 14K against a deep field.
In 1995, Steve developed severe groin pain which ended up being diagnosed as Osteitis Pubis, a condition where the pelvis erodes and is chronically inflamed. It progressed to the point of Steve needing to have surgery at Ohio State University in 1996, essentially ending his racing career.
Steve’s PR’s include: Mile (4:13) Merritt Mile 1991 … 5K (14:59) WPAFB Bass Lake 1991 … 5 mile (25:16) ORRRC Turkey Trot 1991 … 10K (31:00)* Hudy 14K 1991 …half-marathon (1:10:09) Dayton River Corridor Classic 1990 … marathon (2:29:56) Columbus marathon 1990.
Steve is the owner of Tiger Joe’s Exercise Equipment in Ohio.