From corporate lawyer, to professional athlete. Follow Jenny’s inspirational story.
Jenny Davis is a lawyer turned professional athlete. She spends her time travelling the globe to compete in some of the world’s toughest races, events and expeditions.
The Starting Point
Having spent her childhood in Balikpapan on the island of Borneo with her parents and brothers, Jenny’s passion for adventure started at an early age. Her childhood was spent exploring the rainforests, whilst soaking up the opportunity to travel to new countries and experience different communities. She also lived in Paris and Qatar for short periods of time and spoke French as her first language.
Growing up with four brothers, sport was always on the family agenda. Jenny soon discovered a talent for swimming when the family moved to Scotland for Jenny and her siblings to attend high school. She was competing in the elite squad for Scotland aged just 13 whilst enjoying all the sports available at school, including basketball, netball and cricket.
Work Hard, Play Hard
Jenny went onto the University of Edinburgh to complete a law degree. Despite a packed academic calendar, sport and adventure remained a priority. Weekends were spent competing in half marathons and triathlons, or discovering the finest surfing spots on the West Coast of Scotland whilst enjoying wild camping trips with friends.
Jenny was constantly on the look out for her next adventure. She climbed Kilimanjaro via the notoriously difficult Umbwe route via the Western Breach. The expedition was achieved unsupported after a determined battle to be allowed to proceed without a crew.
By 2009 Jenny was working full time and making a name for herself in corporate law specialising in Energy. After the opportunity to take two years out as a professional athlete and the time to prepare for Antarctica, Jenny is now Group Legal Counsel for the AIM listed company, SIMEC Atlantis Energy (a Global Sustainable Energy Company).
The Turning Point
Jenny’s world was turned upside down several years ago when a period of sickness led to the discovery of a dangerous growth in her abdomen. She was admitted to hospital immediately where she endured a course of tumour shrinking drugs, major surgery and an intense three month recovery period. Despite some dark moments, Jenny’s positive outlook kicked in and she decided to spend her days planning all the expeditions and adventures she’d like to one day complete.
The wheels were set in motion from her hospital bed. Jenny signed up for Marathon des Sables 2015 thanks to the hospital wi-fi, a gruelling 250km multi stage race known as The Toughest Footrace on Earth, through the Sahara desert.
Adventure in the Face of Adversity
Jenny devised an intensive training programme to bring herself back to full health and prepare for the race. As training progressed, so did her determination to succeed and she set her sights on being amongst the first 200 to complete the race.
Despite heading into the race with an injury, Jenny was the 16th female to cross the finish line which she completed in just 5 days, an incredible achievement for her first multi-stage adventure race.
Jenny had caught the bug. Overcoming a serious illness had created a desire to discover what she was truly capable of, and she continued to search for expeditions and adventures to push her body to the physical limit. She soon started to make a name for herself on the professional circuit, resulting in offers of sponsorship which enabled her to pursue her dream of becoming a professional athlete on a full time basis.
With a number of impressive titles under her belt, Jenny is still determined to achieve the ambitious goals she set herself whilst recovering in hospital. Watch this space for details!
Alongside her expeditions, Jenny fiercely supports female participation in sport and works with several charitable causes to inspire women and girls all over the world to participate in physical activity, whilst creating exposure for positive female role models in sport. She is adamant that anyone can follow in her footsteps to experience the elation of achieving a goal, however big or small it might be.
She was extremely honoured to be asked to become an Ambassador for Free to Run, a charity which uses the power of sports to help women and girls overcome the harmful effects of conflict and discrimination.
Jenny set up the first ever International Women’s Team to compete in the Marathon des Sables. She was inspired to create the team after spending time training in Morocco with Mohamed Ahansal (five times winner of the Marathon des Sables). His brother, Lahcen Ahansal has won the race eleven times and it was the brothers’ celebrity status in Morocco that led Jenny to realise the power that lay in having equivalent female role models, not just in Morocco but Worldwide.
Jenny secured sponsorship from X-Bionic to enable a team of Moroccan women to compete in the race in April 2017. She has repeated the team model in Iran and plans to launch the 2019 team shortly.
As part of her Antarctica expedition Jenny has recently been appointed a Polar Ambassador by the British government’s STEM initiative. She has been visiting school in the lead up to the expedition who are following the Polar Explorer and Polar Sciences modules with Jenny. She will be part of a school tour on her return to encourage the new generation of scientists, engineers and environmentalists into the great outdoors.
Jenny lives in London with her husband Matt, a British Army surgeon. They were married in Texas and will be having their honeymoon climbing Mount Vinson in Antarctica, one of the world’s Seven Summits, before the solo South Pole attempt! They have a one year old vizsla dog named Bexar who makes a great running and adventure companion.