Nicolas “The Professor” Lebrun was inducted into the XterraHall of Fame at the Night of Champions dinner at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Saturday, Oct. 27.
Read the announcement from Xterra below:
Xterra first met Lebrun more than a decade ago. He had already made a significant impact on multisport as a world champion duathlete and two-time world champion winter triathlete.
The native of France crossed the Atlantic and landed in Richmond, Va. for his first Xterra race in 2001. He finished third behind fellow first-timer Conrad Stoltz in second, and Canada’s Mike Vine in first.
It was the start of something big for him, and for Xterra. The following year he returned to Richmond and scored his first Xterra win. Interestingly, every time he made the trans-Atlantic crossing, he arrived minus his bike or his luggage, or both…and it became a signature and symbol of “good luck.”
Lebrun grew up in the Alps where he learned to go downhill fast and climb like a chamois—a goat-antelope native to the mountains of Europe. The downside to this idyllic life was a poor educational environment and it hit big when he moved to the city in first form, or middle school.
The school could not accommodate his needs, and he survived as one of the “bad guys” drinking, smoking, fighting and throwing rocks at other kids in organized runs. Caught in the act by one of the teachers he was required to run himself. And run he did—fast—to avoid potential rocks. He discovered he was faster than the runners who had been training.
This was his turn-around point. He found strength in athletics and a passion that fueled his future dreams. In 1994 he began his athletic career as an elite, taking third at the French Duathlon Championship—his first in a string of victories and many, many podiums.
Over the past 13 years, he has been a major and consistent force in Xterra racing in Europe and in America with 90 top-five finishes, including 32 wins and four European Tour Championships.
He has helped race organizers with course planning and building, and trained fellow athletes to reach their performance goals, a career he will take on full time in 2014 with his Organicoach company.
But the crowning moment in his Xterra career, was in Maui in 2005 when he won the Xterra World Championship despite falling and breaking his wrist on the run course. For this feat, he received a congratulatory letter from French President Jacques Chirac, and was recognized as the off-road triathlete of the year at the Endurance Sports Awards.
Xterra Hall Of Fame Members
The first eight…
Ned Overend (2005)
Overend competed in the first-ever Xterra in 1996, finishing third. In ‘97 he was second, and in ‘98 and ‘99 he won consecutive World Championships at the ripe young ages of 42 and 43.
Scott Tinley (2006)
Tinley competed in Xterra’s inaugural event and was one of the early ambassadors for the sport, helping to get high level pro’s and big media attention for the first-ever Xterra World Championship.
Kerstin Wuele (2007)
In the early years of the sport Weule won more Xterra races than anyone, compiling 19 Xterra titles, two US. Pro Series crowns (1999 and 2000), and the 2000 World Championship.
Jimmy Riccitello (2008)
Riccitello won the inaugural Xterra World title over triathlon great Mike Pigg. Afterwards, he said “Man this race is a bitch, but it’s the true spirit of triathlon—athlete vs. the course.”
Michael Tobin (2009)
Tobin dominated Xterra for years, with 16 wins and the 2000 World Championship to his credit. He’s the last American man to win off-road triathlon’s greatest race.
Shari Kain (2010)
Kain had an epic duel with Michellie Jones in the inaugural Xterra of 1996 but came up 12 seconds short. In 1999 “Sharoo” won it all in style by doing the hula across the finish line in a grass skirt.
Scott Schumaker (2011)
Schumaker is perhaps THE pioneer of Xterra racing. In the early years he was a factor in just about every race, and he also introduced the sport to the triathlon world by writing about his experiences.
Jamie Whitmore (2012)
Whitmore won 37 championships in a dozen different countries, including the Xterra World Championship in 2004. She is still today the most successful female pro the sport has ever known.
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