2018 Dave DeSantis Warrior Award
Since 2003, the XTERRA Warrior Award has been given to a member of the XTERRA Tribe that has shown exemplary courage in the face of adversity, gone above and beyond to help the greater community, or personified the “Live More” spirit.
This year’s XTERRA Warrior Award recipient, Wendy Minor, meets all of those criteria. She not only leads by example, but she actively encourages and inspires the next generation of XTERRA athletes.
A competitor since the early 1980’s, Wendy has competed in paddling events, open-water swims, road triathlons, and of course, XTERRA. In fact, in 1997, Minor entered her first XTERRA race, which also happened to be the first XTERRA race. (In 1996, the race was called Aquaterra.) She won her age group at the XTERRA World Championship nine times and placed second once, when she was recovering from knee surgery. Additionally, she has won her age group at XTERRA Saipan, XTERRA Tahoe, and twice at the XTERRA National Championship.
Last year, Wendy was going for her 10th XTERRA Age Group World title. Two weeks before the race, she went swimming in the ocean and contracted a knee infection that went septic. One surgery and 25 staples later, she thought that was the end of her racing career.
“I was done,” she said.
However, Wendy is nothing if not perseverant. Over the past year, she not only rehabbed her knee, but she got back into racing shape. In August she competed in the first annual XTERRA Hawaii Island and qualified for the XTERRA World Championship where she decided to try for her tenth XTERRA World title. Additionally, she began coaching this year's youngest XTERRA competitor, Staci Lovell. Together, the two rode, swam, and ran on the Big Island, where Wendy shared her years of experience and Staci shared her exuberance about trying XTERRA for the first time
"Wendy has taught me to never give up," said Staci. "And when it feels like I can't push anymore, that I should take everything I have and just smile, because smiling makes it all seem a little easier."
Several weeks before the 2018 XTERRA World Championship, Wendy was riding with Staci, who was musing about who might be the 2018 XTERRA Warrior.
“I told Staci, I didn’t know and that you are always surprised when they are announced,” said Wendy. “Someone gets it who is just living their life and doing their thing, and often they are dealing with monstrous things, but you don’t know about it because they are so humble. I told Staci the only thing I knew was that I wasn’t getting the Warrior Award because I’m just not warrior enough.”
When Wendy Minor was named the 2018 XTERRA Warrior on Friday, October 26th at the Aloha Friday Welcome Reception Dinner, she was surprised once again.
“When they announced that I was the winner, I was dumbstruck,” said Wendy. “I thought, wait it was me? Had it been me all along?”
She was beyond happy to have her daughter, and her beloved nine-year-old granddaughter, Riley there to share the moment.
“Riley just burst into tears as did my daughter,” said Wendy. “So did I. My son in law was just so cool about it. He was the one who got me out of my chair and said that I had to get up to the stage. He gave me a big hug and I said, ‘I gotta get a grip on myself.’ He said, ‘Oh, by the time you get up to the stage, you will.’”
Wendy, whose many races, and many, many hours on the trail and in the ocean have prepared her for almost anything, was every bit the picture of calm as she climbed the stairs to the stage and said that while she was overjoyed with the award, it is the XTERRA ohana of friends, training partners, and competitors that she treasures the most.
“I never thought I would even be considered,” she said.
Frankly, we can't think of anyone more deserving. Wendy doesn’t just push the people ahead of her with her enthusiasm and ready laugh. She also reaches a hand down and lifts others up. For her fighting spirit, her generous heart, and her commitment to living her best life every day, We salute 2018 XTERRA Warrior, Wendy Minor.