A local marine is putting his athletic skills to the ultimate test this weekend: running back-to-back marathons.
Mike Mendoza plans to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Sunday, then hop on a flight to run the Boston Marathon by Monday morning, raising money for disabled veterans.
"It's just not a hobby," Mendoza said. "But for me, it's a lifestyle."
In 2006, Mendoza suffered a severe injury while deployed in Iraq when he was caught next to a grenade.
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"We were on a sniper mission," he said. "They were lucky enough to get a grenade close to us. That grenade happened to explode right next to me."
The contents of the grenade tore through his chest, Mendoza described, and went into his lungs. The marine recovered from the blast and subsequently retired.
Over the years, Mendoza has competed in a number of marathon races and Ironman Triathlon competitions, holding a Guinness World Record.
"If I say I'm gonna do something, I have to knock it out of the ballpark," Mendoza said.
Mendoza has raised over $70,000 for Semper Fi and America's Fund, with hopes to raise several more thousands of dollars this year.