CAMBRIDGE, Md. - A marine wounded on duty in Iraq over a decade ago is now on a quest to help other wounded veterans while attempting to break a world record.
Mike Mendoza is a marine who received the Purple Heart following a severe injury to his chest.
"I took a grenade to the chest. It hit both my lungs, my stomach, my diaphragm, my small intestines, all of that was repaired."
Mendoza is attempting to complete 26 half-triathalons and have his name immortalized in the Guinness Book of World Records, all-the-while raising money for the Semper Fi Fund. He is in Cambridge this weekend to compete in this Sunday's race.
He says though he suffered severe wounds, he knew he could still accomplish great things, such as running marathons. Something he has already accomplished twice this year, in Boston and Copenhagen.
"It's not just me, there are many wounded service members out there that are just killing it. Whether it's school, work or even being an athlete."
The money raised will go to a charity, Mendoza says, was there to help him and his family when they were needed most.
"For the Semper Fi Fund to bring my son and daughter to my bedside while I was injured meant a lot to me. So for me to give back, its my turn to give back."
What is more remarkable is last year was Mendoza's first full-year racing. He says he wanted to do a few Ironman competitions, and while sitting down one day asked himself what the world record for most Ironmans was.
Mendoza is paying for his entries, meals, and lodging himself at most places, but the American Legion in Cambridge sponsored Mendoza for the weekend when they found out he would be racing Sunday.
The goal set for the year is $25,000, with over $15,000 raised as of Friday night through Mendoza's fifth race.
If you wish to learn more, or donate to Mendoza's case, log on to his website, thepatriotracer.com.
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