Ramakongoana and Mbhele win big as Xcel reward 2023 excellence
After a successful 2023 running season Xcel Running Club rewarded excellencing by honouring their top performers at an awards ceremony held on Sunday (10 December) evening. The glitzy affair which also incorporated the club's three year anniversary celebration took place in Chatsworth, South West of Durban. Founded in 2020, the red and navy blue club has become one of South Africa's top clubs to elite athletes and social runners alike.
One of the founders Mandla Mngomezulu applauded the big winner on the night Tebello Ramongakalo for putting the club's name in lights with victory at the Durban International Marathon and a national record for Lesotho when he claimed second place at the Nelson Mandela Bay Half Marathon in June. Tebello pocketed a sum of R17 000 for winning male athlete of the year award, his national record and his athlete of the year accolade. Althoguh he was not present to recieve the award in person because he is racing in China, Ramakongoana's award was cheered enthusiastically by all in attendance.
"Tebello has been a great asset to the club. He delivered a great performance in Gqeberha in the half marathon which saw him setting a new Lesotho record," he told #TheTopRunner. "Afterwards, he came fourth in the World Championship marathon race in Budapest. Those are one of the reasons we chose him to be the best athlete. He has done well for the club so this is just a little appreciation we would like to give him and the other athletes that performed well this season. After the season he had, it is fitting that this occasion belongs to them," he said.
Another athlete who has enjoyed a fantastic year is Jenet Mbhele. On her Comrades Marathon debut, she managed to secure a top ten finish. Plus she was also selected to represent the country at the IAU World 50k Championship in India, although she was forced to pull out. Mbhele was voted Best Female Athlete of the Year and Best Comrades Marathon Finisher which earned her a cheque of R60 000.00.
"This club is close to my heart for many reasons. I'm happy they decided to honor us today. I wouldn't have achieved all of this without them. I'm happy with the foundation they have laid for me," she said.