In front of a diverse crowd of high school students in Madras, Oregon yesterday, five-time USATF Trail Running National Champion Mario Mendoza, 32, of Bend, Oregon took 46 seconds off Mike Wardian’s 50K treadmill world record with his 2:59:03 performance.
Mendoza, the son of Mexican immigrants, chose the venue to give the kids (who are one-third native American, one-third Hispanic and one-third white) a fun and inspiring spectacle and a demonstration of someone striving for a goal that was by no means guaranteed. He said in an Instagram post, “My fitness indicates we should be able to get through 20 miles, the last 11 will be run on grit and faith.”
Mendoza ran at an average pace of 3:35 per kilometre to achieve the record.
Mendoza won the Bandera 100K in 2018 and finished 14th at UTMB-CCC last year. He also broke course records at Ultra Trail of Taiwan and the Peterson Ridge 40 Miler in Sisters, Oregon, both in 2019.
Mendoza’s next race is the Black Canyon 100K in Arizona in February.
Wardian is famous for his “go big or go home” approach to running. His latest world record attempt involved running in a hot pink Elvis jumpsuit. Wardian won the World Marathon Challenge in early 2019, and followed that up with a 10-day FKT on the 1,000-kilometre Israel National Trail.