Kyle Furlong, Celeste St. Pierre named 2020 Grant recipients.
Kyle Furlong and Celeste St. Pierre were honored today as the 2020 Dave DeSantis XTERRA Legacy Grant recipients. Both will receive $2,500 to help them pursue their boldest XTERRA travel dream.
“To receive this grant is a dream come true,” said Furlong, a 33-year-old from Sandpoint, Idaho who has been racing XTERRA since 2004. “As COVID-19 hit the U.S. my beautiful wife Rachael and I lost our jobs like most everyone else. We have two girls, four and two, which makes it difficult to find extra time and money to train and race even when times are good.”
For Furlong, the grant has provided all the motivation he’s needed to stay strong and keep going.
“Ever since I started racing XTERRA it’s been a dream of mine to compete in Maui, but due to finances I have yet to make it, and once we had the kids I wasn’t sure it would ever happen. So, I can’t thank Kathy (Doyle) enough for this amazing opportunity, especially during such an uncertain and hard time we're all going through. It's definitely kept my spirits up.”
The Legacy Grant honors the late Dave DeSantis, a true XTERRA Warrior and inspiration to all. In 2013, he was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma and was given a year to live. He fought it with everything he had and continued to race XTERRA through his treatment. DeSantis lost his long and valiant battle on June 5, 2017.
In his memory, XTERRA renamed the recurring XTERRA Warrior Award the Dave DeSantis XTERRA Warrior award and to perpetuate his legacy further, his wife Kathy Doyle established the Dave DeSantis XTERRA Legacy Grant, affording others the opportunity to follow in his footsteps.
“Dave traveled and raced XTERRA all around the world. He rode with passion in his heart and love in his soul,” said Doyle. “The sport brought immeasurable joy into his life, and his happiness was obvious when you heard him cheerfully whistling while pedaling away for another ride, another race, another challenge.”
For St. Pierre, who lives and trains in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the grant was an unexpected treasure from decades-old friends.
“I am excited and grateful. I met Dave and Kathy in early 2000 at a triathlon camp I was offering, and we stayed connected ever since,” she said. “They are both so giving, funny, honest, and adventurous. I started doing triathlons in 1992, mostly road tris with a handful of off-road races, but when Dave made the transition from road tri to XTERRA, he took me with him. I love Kathy, she’s become like a sister to me. We talk about Dave, laugh and roll our eyes at how fun, funny, crazy, type AA, inclusive, and generous he was and still is through this grant.”
The Dave DeSantis XTERRA Legacy Grant was established to provide one man and one woman each year for five years (2018-2022) with an opportunity to experience a destination XTERRA race. Thanks to last year’s recipients, Jordan Winar and Kyle Grieser who fundraised $5,000 to add another year to the program, the grant has been extended into 2023.
“Before I 'won' the grant the thought of winning an adventure was cool,” said Winar. “But the more research I did on Dave, the more real he became to me. Being the recipient made me pause more last year to take in the gift of life. To slow down and enjoy pre-race jitters, listen to the waves, and enjoy the pain because I knew it would soon pass. It meant staying a little bit later at the after party and saying hello to someone at a race that looked lost or lonely. The grant taught me life isn’t about me, but about us, and it made me realize how special the XTERRA community is. It's a place you can feel safe and just be yourself, which is what we are all looking for as we travel through life.”
Winar also had some advice for Furlong, St. Pierre, and all future DeSantis Grant recipients.
“People/racers should apply to find out who they really are and take a moment to explore where they might want to go, not just physically but more importantly mentally and spiritually, because this grant will take you there.”
Applications for the 2021 Dave DeSantis XTERRA Legacy Grant are being accepted now through September 29, 2020 at xterraplanet.com/DeSantisLegacyGrant.
2020 – Kyle Furlong/Celeste St. Pierre
2019 – Kyle Grieser/Jordan Winar and Staci Lovell
2018 – Tad Norton and Stephanie Brunnemann