Jenna Challenor’s Love for Sport is Shaping Her Motherhood Journey

by | May 12, 2021

South African long-distance runner, Jenna Challenor, is using her love for sport and the joy of motherhood to inspire her three daughters, especially her eldest, Nicolette, who is making her mark in lifesaving.

Sport undeniably runs in the blood of the Challenor family as Jenna and her husband, Brett, both had a passion for lifesaving while growing up in Durban.

“I love that Nix has found her passion in her sports, especially lifesaving. It was such a massive part of mine and Brett’s lives growing up,” revealed Jenna to gsport.

“Nix loves the track too and hockey, but I see her soul comes alive on the beach in lifesaving. It’s strange because I thought she was going to follow her dads footsteps and be more a swimmer but it seems she has taken after me as a beach sprints, beach flags and beach long run specialist and she absolutely loves it.”

At 16, Nicolette achieved four gold medals in total at a recent inter-provincial lifesaving tournament and reveals that she has learnt valuable lessons from her athletic mother.

“Some of the many lessons I have learnt from my mom is that if you believe in yourself, you can do it, and that it doesn’t matter where you come. All that matters is that you tried your best and never gave up, that’s all that matters.”

Challenor Streaks to PMB SPAR 10km Win

With a strong head on her young shoulders, Jenna beams with pride with her daughter’s new-found success. She admits that being a mother is her greatest achievement.

“Being a mother is my greatest achievement in life. I have always loved children hence why I became a teacher.”

The 39-year-old has a B.Ed foundation phase degree and taught before she took up running professionally.

She admits being a professional athlete, a wife and mom bring about many challenges but her family inspires her to fulfil her goals.

“I’ve learnt to be the master of juggling lots of balls. Sometimes I do drop them, and that’s ok.” – South African long-distance runner, Jenna Challenor speaks on juggling family life and a professional athletic career.

“I won’t lie, being a mom and professional athlete is a juggling act and REST isn’t something I get very much of but as I always say, “Where there is a will, there is always a way, ” if I can do it so can you. I’ve learnt to be the master of juggling lots of balls. Sometimes I do drop them, and that’s ok but mostly they challenge me and keep me on my toes.

“My children are my inspiration, I have always tried to lead by example and wanted them to live a healthy, happy, fun lifestyle which in my humble opinion is living in a world of sport.

“They see all the highs and lows of my journey. They see how much dedication, hard work and commitment it takes, they see the real deal. Out of my two older daughters, one wants to be a professional athlete and one doesn’t and that’s perfect!”

“I don’t have one proudest moment, I have many ones that come to mind.” – Challenor speaks on the proud moments shared with her daughters.

The 2017 World Championship Athletics competitor says she has many proud moments with her girls that she will cherish forever.

“I don’t have one proudest moment, I have many ones that come to mind; the day each of my daughters were born, staring at the little perfection and miracle of life I was holding and knowing they are my gifts from God.

“Another is seeing them having FUN doing sport. I strongly believe less is more as children and that fun is so important. If you have fun and love what you doing you will continue it for a long time.

“I don’t want them to be “good” now, I want them to have fun, develop a love and passion and continue their sports to be good later in life. Too many kids are burnt out so young and give up,” she reveals.

“I also love it when I see their dedication, commitment and hard work towards their dreams and goals pay off in their races and I especially love it when they believe in themselves. My favourite thing on earth is watching them compete but I do admit I get more nervous than when I race myself. Ha, ha…”

Thank you for all the advice you have given me throughout the years.” – Nicolette Challenor shares a special Mother’s Day message to her mom, Jenna.

Nicolette is grateful for her mother going the extra mile to ensure that she provides each of them with the attention and support that they need to pursue their dreams, whether it be on or off the sports field.

In a special message to her mom on Mother’s Day, Nicolette says, “Mom you are so special to me and the rest of our family, thank you for being an inspiration to me and for always helping and guiding me into the right direction.

“You are always out there making us proud and inspiring us all to have such dedication and commitment like you. Thank you for all the advice you have given me throughout the years.

“You have always told us that, “the body achieves what the mind believes,” and that always sticks with me. No matter what happens, I know when the races are back on again you will be making us so proud in no time and all your hard work, dedication, commitment, and training will finally pay off. I love you mom!”


Photo 1 Caption: South African long-distance runner, Jenna Challenor, pictured with her three daughters, who she revealed as her greatest achievements in life. Photo: Supplied


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