After the brutal attack on Nick Bester, Jenna Challenor steps in as only female in “Battle of the Sports”…
Golden sportswoman, Jenna Challenor, has accepted the challenge of taking up a position in the hotly contested Battle of the Sports competition, following the brutal attack on Comrades Marathon winner and coach, Nick Bester last month.
Due to the severe injuries sustained, Bester has been forced to withdraw from the challenge. This will make Challenor the only female participant in the 200km BrightRock Battle of the Sports fundraising endurance race currently taking place over the next five weeks.
Challenor will join teammates Bongmusa Mthembu and David Gatebe and team manager Bruce Fordyce on 17 September.
The challenge will see 12 cricketers, rugby; soccer and running heroes take on each other, as well as expedition leader Erik Vermeulen, in the desert salt pans of the Verneukpan in the Northern Cape.
Team rugby was the first team out and will be returning tomorrow having successfully circumnavigated the pan without any support. Other high profile contestants include Teko Modise, Lance Klusener, Matthew Booth and Makhaya Ntini.
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“I believe Jenna will be strong enough to help the Comrades runners still win this event” – Bester
“We decided to replace myself with Jenna Challenor and I believe Jenna will be strong enough to help the Comrades runners still win this event. We all know how strong women are on endurance and tough events like this, and at the end of the day it is all in the head, not the body that will be the deciding factor for victory and all Comrades gold medallists have got that”, says Bester who is recovering well and already starting to train again.
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A moment captured🙏🏻.. a photo that speaks a million words to my heart ~ words I spoke to my Dad in heaven on that Comrades Marathon start line in 2019. . (And yes, I am sorry, I have posted it a few times but I love it and it’s when I’m missing my Dad.) . . Right now I wish more than anything that I had my Dad here on earth to tell him about this next adventure. He would worry about me a lot as he always did and I would reassure him “ I’ve got this Dad” . @battleofthesportssa is something I’ve never done before, I’m so excited and also pretty nervous for the unexpected and man I would love to chat to my dad about it all. . . As a runner, our journey and especially racing is so individual and for this race we are a TEAM and thats one of the things that really excites me. Teamwork makes the dream work and being in a team with the most elite of elite athletes and Comrades winners is an incredible honor in itself. . . Please follow our adventure and take up the #200kmchallenge yourself, be part of the change. ❤️ . . #battleofthesports #lovechange #200km #teamwork #onlywoman😜✌
Challenor is one of the most highly respected names in professional running today
She has represented South Africa on the world stage for the half marathon, the full marathon as well as qualifying for the Olympics. In 2017 she ran her debut Two Oceans 56km ultra marathon and was placed 2nd overall, also the first South African. In 2019 she made her Comrades marathon debut and achieved a Gold medal placing 6th in a time of 6 hours and 35 minutes on her first attempt.
This professional running mother of three girls dreams to represent South Africa again – possibly at the Olympic games in 2021 and to finish on the podium for the Comrades marathon. But before she does that, she will take up her position for Team Runners in the BrightRock Battle of the Sports.
Asked whether she will feel awkward as the only female participant, the answer is a resounding no. “I grew up with two older brothers who were both pretty sporty and I did everything and anything they did so competing with the guys is nothing new and I am so excited to be participating in a team. Running is such an individual sport so this is going to be really fun,” says Challenor.
Challenor says it is also an opportunity to do something positive during the pandemic
“It has been a really hard couple of months for most people, particularly not being able to train, and I have been looking for something I can do which can add a bit of positivity. When I was first approached by Clive Grinaker from Events to Aid, I absolutely loved the initiative and the opportunity to give back.”
“As a mom of three girls, I also love to inspire women. So many women feel they need to give up on their dreams once they become mothers. I am walking proof to other women and my three girls that one should never stop. I would love to inspire all our South African women to actively support and donate to this excellent cause by participating and challenging other women,” concludes Challenor.
Teams competing in the Challenge:
- Cricket: Lance Klusener, Makhaya Ntini, Monde Zondeki. Managed by Jonty Rhodes
- Rugby: Hanyani Shimange, John Smit & Schalk Brits. Managed by Butch James
- Running: Bongmusa Mthembu, David Gatebe & Jenna Challenor. Managed by Bruce Fordyce
- Soccer: Matthew Booth, Siyabonga Nomvethe & Teko Modise. Managed by Neil Tovey.
The teams will depart on their crossings as follows:
- Rugby: Travel 05 Sept – Event 06 – 09 Sept.
- Running: Travel 16 Sept – Event 17 – 20 Sept.
- Soccer: Travel 27 Sept – Event 28 Sept – 01 Oct.
- Cricket: Travel 08 October – Event 09 – 12 October.
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