That was when his journey began.
Now, 28kg lighter and fair bit fitter, he takes part in almost every event he hears about. Matt loves competing, and loves the social atmosphere after a race. He has an absolute passion for outdoor sports and the people that he comes into contact with during the events.
He has seen steady improvements in his abilities and thus his race results.
Unforgettable 2014 for Daneel
A few years ago the thought of racing would never have crossed his mind, not to mention winning a race… But, after 2014, Matt Daneel is a multiple race winner and a South African and African Champion.
“The year was far more successful than I ever could have imagined. Along the way I gained some valuable sponsors. They make it possible for me to do what I love. It’s not the only support that is great, but the added motivation of not wanting to disappoint them and the desire to do their brands justice,” said Daneel.
The biggest highlight of a very successful year was Xterra Grabouw, the South African Championships. “It’s the biggest race of the season. Everything revolves around it. The goal was to become my age group champion and quialify for the Xterra World Championships, with the distant dream to be the first amateur athlete overall. I achieved both those goals after an incredible race. On the day everything just fell into place for me. It all went according to plan; my dream became a reality. It was a day I will never forget.”
“There were a few special races in 2014, that when I think back to them, my whole body gets goose bumps. Those races are the ones where I feel I outperformed myself ans was able to go beyond what I ever thought I could manage. Those races were Xterra SA Champs and Enduroman”
However, along with the highlights, there was a low point in Matt’s season. The realisation of not being able to go to Xterra World Champs in Maui, as planned earlier in the year.
Matt persevered and his hard work soon began to pay off as he managed to get a winning streak going mid-season. First places at the Bastille Day 25km trail run, followed by his first mountain bike victory, Die Burger 60km in Stellenbosch, a first place at the Asics Dirty Double Duathlon, and ending the streak by winning the Table Mountain Challenge trail run over 21 tough kilometres.
“I waited a long time for my first win of the year (Bastille Day trail run) and it was pretty special. Winning the 60km at Die Burger MTB Challenge a week later was awesome. At the Dirty Double I raced against some big names like Lieuwe Boonstra and Rohan Kennedy. It was daunting but I enjoyed the challenge and once again was fortunate that everything went according to plan, and won the race to my own surprise. The TMC 21km was the toughest 21km I have ever run.”
“Along with the opportunity to travelling overseas to compete in the Leadville Trail Marathon, I am extremely grateful for an amazing 2014. I raced my heart out at every event and am proud to be involved with some of the top brands/companies in their respective fields. Without them, I could never have achieved all of this, and for that I am extremely grateful.”
Looking forward to 2015 Daneel’s immediate goal is another strong performance at Xterra Grabouw in February. “SA Champs is always the goal, and after a fantastic race in 2014, I’ll see if I can re-create the magic in 2015. For now it’s all about gearing up for Grabouw. I also have some unfinished business at the Leadville Trail Run in America; hopefully I’ll find myself on the start line again in 2015.”
“Dare to Dream.” – Dan Hugo
Story by Eunice Visagie of Outsider Communications.
So the sun has set on 2014. One of the most epic years of my life(09 will be tough to top). Achieved more than I had ever hoped for on an athletic front. 2 x SA Champ and African continental champ. Time for some new goals, this time a bit more career focused. :) I will learn from 2014 and make 2015 the best yet. Lets do this...
A photo posted by Matthew Daneel (@mattdaneel) on