Cambria native Mario Mendoza has been named USA Track & Field Mountain Ultra Trail Running Council’s “Ultra Runner of the Year” for 2018.
Mendoza has previously won the “Sub-Ultra” category three times.
“This year, I wanted to challenge myself to the ‘Ultra’ category — so winning this title was neat,” he said in an email interview.
“So four times now I have won runner of the year...” among ultra competitors, he said.
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Mendoza, an ordained minister, added: “God has been moving; I’m just trying to not get in the way.”
The 32-year-old Coast Union High School graduate placed sixth among 263 ultra athletes in the “Trail World Championships” in Spain in May – the top American to finish the 55-mile mountainous race for the second straight year.
Mendoza came in 16th among 299 runners in the “Western States 100” in June and finished first among 500 runners in the challenging 100K “Ultra Trail en Mexico” in October.
Two weeks after the Mexico triumph, Mendoza came to the Central Coast for a fundraising run Nov. 10 from Montana de Oro to Cambria (98 miles); he did it in just over 16 hours. This most recent USA Track & Field honor is preceded by Mendoza having been named USA Trail Runner of the year — five times.