Mauricio Mendez Cruz
Mauricio Mendez Cruz became the youngest XTERRA World Champion at the age of 21 in 2016, just two years after turning professional in 2014. ‘Mau’ specialises at the XTERRA and IRONMAN 70.3 distances.
Mauricio has numerous victories over his favoured middle distance, six of those coming in the 2016 season alone. His first professional victory came at IRONMAN 70.3 Cozumel and he followed that up with XTERRA wins in Italy, Denmark and Sweden before claiming gold at the World Championship.
Further IRONMAN 70.3 wins came at Los Cabos (2016), Texas (2017) and Philippines (2018) - the latter being the Mexican’s most painful race to date as he ‘truly went deep’ to earn the victory in the Asia Pacific Championships.
Mauricio doesn’t have a favourite event on the calendar and instead enjoys the whole experience of travelling around the world and being a part of the triathlon community.
He first discovered the sport of triathlon aged just 10 when he began training with his father. What started as a pastime, to spend time bonding with his dad, soon became a lifelong obsession.
He is driven by becoming World Champion once again and becoming a ‘world-class’ athlete, though you could argue he already is. Mauricio’s heroes growing up were Roger Federer, Jan Frodeno and Javier Gómez - and he is keen to beat both Jan and Javi one day.
One of his weirdest quirks comes on race day when he says he can sometimes set up to 10 alarms to ensure he doesn’t miss the start of a race.
From a training perspective, the best advice ‘Mau’ has received involves “listening to your body but learning to push yourself hard enough to make progress, and rest properly afterwards”.
When it comes to the race though it is very simple - “be a braveheart”.