A local Marine puts his athletic skills to the ultimate test this weekend: He runs consecutive marathons.
Mike Mendoza plans to host the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday and then hop on a flight to the Boston Marathon by Monday morning to raise funds for disabled veterans.
“It’s just not a hobby,” said Mendoza. “But for me it’s a lifestyle.”
In 2006, Mendoza suffered a serious injury while on duty in Iraq when he was caught next to a grenade.
“We were on a sniper mission,” he said. “They were lucky enough to get a grenade near us. This grenade happened to explode right next to me.”
The contents of the grenade ripped through his chest, Mendoza described, and went into his lungs. The marine recovered from the explosion and then withdrew.
Over the years, Mendoza has participated in a number of marathons and ironman triathlon competitions and has held a Guinness world record.
“If I say I’ll do something, I have to throw it off track,” said Mendoza.
Mendoza has raised over $ 70,000 for Semper Fi and America’s Fund and is hoping to raise several thousand more this year.