This past season I've been honored to have the opportunity to work with the one and only Patriot Racer, Mike Mendoza. Mike wanted to do something to give back to the Semper Fi Fund, the organization that did so much for him. Mike made the decision to go after the record for the number of branded and unbranded 70.3s in one season. The way in which he's gone about claiming those World Records is truly amazing.
I remember late last year Mike leaving me a message about some "plans" he had. When we spoke and he floated this idea, I didn't know what to think at first. There are so many things that have to be in line to pull any record breaking attempt off. When you initially start an undertaking like this you have to know the individual is capable. Mike is an amazing athlete with incredible mental fortitude, so we could easily check this box. His unwavering dedication, perseverance, and commitment to this goal was never in doubt. What you don't always immediately realize is the incredible amount of support, planning and luck that also has to be in place to complete something like this.
Watching the support he's had is a testament to Mike, the man he is and the belief in his mission. It seems that every race he has fellow Marines and supporters come from hours away to cheer him and support him. On social media, you see so many folks from around the country showing the pride they have in him and the support for his mission. This pride is most evident in the pictures and posts shared by his family. They've been so instrumental in allowing him the opportunity to give back and he has been gracious and made the most out of that opportunity.
On any given day, Mike is capable of competing at such an incredibly high level, that the biggest challenge has been to show just a bit of restraint in order to continuously replicate his results.
From my perspective as Mike's Coach, I've been overwhelmed with his performance. It's simply been amazing, week in and week out, he's competing for Age Group wins (and sometimes Overall Placements), going sub 5 hours at the distance, racing at a USAT All-American Level and maintaining a level of consistency that's just astounding.
Congratulations to the Patriot Racer, the job has been well done!
For more information or to donate, head to: https://www.thepatriotracer.com/.
Mike broke the non-branded race record at IRONMAN 70.3 Miami and the IRONMAN-branded 70.3 record at IRONMAN 70.3 Austin. Rob Verhelst (Fireman Rob) previously held the world record for most half-distance triathlons non-branded at 23, while James Lawrence (the Iron Cowboy) held the record for official 70.3 finishes at 18.
#26 – 11/12 IRONMAN 70.3 Los Cabos, Mexico
#25 – 10/29 IRONMAN 70.3 Austin, TX - 4:43:49, 1st M 35-39
#24 – 10/22 IRONMAN 70.3 Miami, FL - 5:04:38, 19th M35-39
#23 – 10/8 Toughman Half Iron, Lenoir City, Tenn - 4:52:41, 1st Overall!
#22 – 9/30 Watermans Half Rock Hall, Maryland - 4:29:11, 8th Overall, 1st Military Male
#21 – 9/24 IRONMAN 70.3 Superfrog Imperial Beach, CA - 4:48:18, 7th M35-39
#20 – 9/17 IRONMAN 70.3 Atlantic City, NJ - 4:34:07, 3rd M35-39
#19 – 9/9 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships Chattanooga, TN - 5:02:12, 231st M35-39
#18 – 8/27 IRONMAN 70.3 Old Orchard Beach, Maine - 4:36:45, 6th M35-39
#17 – 8/20 Michigan Titanium half, Grand Rapids - 4:51:35, 2nd M35-39
#16 – 8/13 IRONMAN 70.3 Steelhead, Michigan - 4:39:39, 7th M35-39
#15 – 8/5 IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder, CO - 4:41:25, 10th M35-39
#14 – 7/30 IRONMAN 70.3 Delaware, Ohio - 4:37:02, 7th M35-39
#13 – 7/23 IRONMAN 70.3 Calgary, Canada - 4:19:11, 3rd M35-39
#12 – 7/16 IRONMAN 70.3 Racine, WI 3:52:46 (no swim), 8th M35-39
#11 – 7/8 IRONMAN 70.3 Muncie, IN - 4:40:12, 11th M35-39
#10 – 6/25 IRONMAN 70.3 Couer D’ Alene, ID - 4:49:48, 15th M35-39
#9 – 6/18 IRONMAN 70.3 Syracuse, NY - 5:23:11, 14th M35-39
#8 – 6/10 IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman, Maryland - 4:54:10 - 14th M35-39
#7 – 6/4 IRONMAN 70.3 Raleigh, NC - 5:09:51, 42nd M35-39
#6 – 5/28 Goose Pond Island Half Iron Distance, AL - 5:01:42, 5th Overall
#5 – 5/13 IRONMAN 70.3 Gulf Coast, FL - 4:01:29, 13th M35-39
#4 – 5/6 IRONMAN 70.3 St. George, Utah - 5:19:54, 45th M35-39
#3 – 4/29 Chattahoochee Challenge Half at Callaway Gardens - 5:01:40, 1st Overall
#2 –4/2 IRONMAN 70.3 Galveston, Texas - 4:43:07, 15th M35-39
#1 – 3/18 Toughman Half Arizona – Lake Havasu - 4:52:34, 1st M35-39
4/17- Boston Marathon
5/21- Copenhagen, Denmark Marathon