South Africa’s Dan Hugo became the 11th inductee into the XTERRA Hall of Fame at the Night of Champions dinner in Maui last night.
At just 31-years-old Hugo is the youngest athlete ever inducted to the Hall, but you’ll have to put that in perspective by noting he was just a teenager when he did his first XTERRA back in 2004 at the inaugural XTERRA South Africa Championship.
He finished 3rd that day and over the next 11 years finished in the top 5 over 70 times. Among those podium positions was an agonizing 22nd runner-up finishes, certainly more than he’d like to talk about, but he also won his fair share with 15 majors championship wins.
And talk about leaving on a high note, in his last two years – 2013 and 2014 - he did two dozen XTERRA races on six continents and during that stretch won races in eight countries including the prestigious XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in Australia.
While his racing credentials alone were good enough to get him into the Hall, it’s Hugo’s contributions to the sport as an ambassador for the XTERRA Lifestyle that made him stand out from the crowd.
Hugo was a spokesman for a way of life, the XTERRA way of life, and at every stop he’d share the gospel of XTERRA and perpetuated his guiding principal that health is wealth.
Dan also has a true gift for words, both written and spoken, and can tell the most colorful of stories.
He once said his favorite aspect of XTERRA was “the places. “And by that,” he explained, “I mean more than the cities and zip codes. It’s the rare views, the canopies of forest, the berms in those forests and all the little details that make me feel a rich man.”
Hugo made XTERRA look good. He has been referred to as the sports “pin-up” and justifiably so. He was Triathlete Magazine’s favorite photo feature subject – for covers, swimsuit editions, you name it.
There’s a lot more to Hugo than good looks though. He is a true entrepreneur. A renaissance man equally interested in business and brands, good flavors and good wine. He immersed himself in many things, the art of coffee, social dining, film, wine, ice cream, writing, photography, and travel.
He did his first triathlon at the age of 9 and said he had been swimming, biking, and running away from the real world ever since. That was, of course, until he retired from the sport at the tender young age of 29.
Upon his retirement Hugo said that “celebrating numerous highs and groveling through countless setbacks was a tremendous way to spend his twenties.”
We think so too.
And while he often talked about being a master of procrastination, when it came to seizing the opportunity to embrace his dream job in global marketing, he did not hesitate.
His place in XTERRA history and lore is secure. His future is beyond bright. For his contributions to XTERRA as an athlete, a friend, and an ambassador, we welcome Dan Hugo to a very distinguished club – the XTERRA Hall of Fame.