“Nobody is better than your best, but your best will make you better, and that’s gonna make us all better.” -Sean Corvelle
Often, life-changing situations don’t seem all that important in the moment. For Kristopher Mendoza, it was a ho-hum drive home with a friend that brought Tough Mudder into his life. And while Mendoza estimates he had never run more than 6 miles in his life prior to those 10-12 miles at Big Bear at his first Tough Mudder event in 2012, the challenge that mudding presented became a joy he simply could not turn away from.
All told, Mendoza has now taken part in 6 Tough Mudder events and 2 Tough Mudder Half’s. He’s also readying for his third attempt at World’s Toughest Mudder, the extreme 24-hour obstacle race designed to push Mudders to their limits.
Through it all, Mendoza has held firm to the “special experience” he found at that very first Mudder.
“The camaraderie between the racers is unparalleled,” Mendoza said. “There is an amazing group of people who run multiple events a year and we have formed a close-knit community. It doesn’t matter how fast anyone is, just the fact that they are out there trying to be their very best is what makes each and every person special.”
Mendoza, nervous though he may be for what’s coming at World’s Toughest, also praised the “unique and innovative” obstacles that the wicked minds at TMHQ produce every season.
“They ask the community for their input and help bring their fans into the creation and testing of many of their obstacles, which makes the product on the course even better.”
That product has gotten yet another facelift this year, meaning 2016’s World’s Toughest Mudder will be tougher than ever. In preparation, Mendoza has been training hard, running trails and focusing on increasing distances and climbing hills, while dialing in his on- and off-course nutrition.
“The camaraderie between the racers is unparalleled”
But like many Mudders, the 26-year-old dental anesthesiology resident isn’t focused on outcome. He’s headed to Las Vegas Lake to be his best, to complete as many laps of the 5-mile course as possible, and push himself as far as he can go.
“When I go out to run, I am there to be my very best. I try not to get caught up too much in what other people are doing and focus on what I can control. I love that TM provides a platform for me to push myself to the limit. It forces me to race my fears (The Cliff at WTM) and push myself to places I never thought were possible.”
Really, even having run the Las Vegas course before, every year provides new challenges, whether it be those upgraded obstacles or an unexpected turn in weather or any of a plethora of potential pitfalls.
But Mendoza has a plan of attack. Because of it’s sheer length, Mendoza won’t approach the race as a single event, but as a series of smaller events. “This will help me aim for smaller goals within the race, which will hopefully help me achieve the end result I want.” That doesn’t mean he expects a clean – literally and figuratively – run. “While breaking the race up will help keep me keep a positive attitude, I know that there will be times out there where I just need to focus on getting through the next step and to the next obstacle. “It’s just the nature of the beast.”
In the end, Mendoza knows that he “can’t run someone else’s race.” He has to focus on himself, on his own efforts, on preparing as best he can for tackling Definitely The Most Extreme Obstacle Course Race on the Planet. “If I take care of my business, I know that any placement or accolades will take care of itself. I want to do my best, reach my goals, and HAVE FUN.”
Height: 5ft 9in
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Facebook: Kris Mendoza
WTM History: 2014: 50 miles, 2015: 80 miles
Number of Tough Mudder Completed: 6 TMs, 2 TM Half (2016), 2 WTM (2014, 2015)
2016 Mileage Goal: Beat last year – 90 miles