Athlete of the Week: NMB’s Jenerette far ahead of pace

wilsonjenerettePerhaps it should come as no surprise that 13-year-old Wilson Jenerette is running at a rate well beyond her years. Growing up the youngest in a family filled with distance runners, she always had to keep up with the pack.

Some of Wilson’s earliest childhood memories are from attending her parents’ and elder siblings’ races and rooting for them to win. Now she’s the one on the receiving end of the cheers, especially at the medal stand.

“I remember going to my mom’s (Katherine) races when I was little and it was so exciting,” recalled Wilson. “We used to wait for her to come by and yell, ‘Kayak Kate! Kayak Kate!’ … But nobody pressured me into it. I’ve only been running (competitively) since last year and I love it.”

Wilson is  already establishing quite a resume in her eighth-grade season, including finishing first place in the overall women’s division of two local 5Ks and runner-up in the Region 7-3A cross country meet to earn all-region honors for North Myrtle Beach High. But she’s not in it just for the medals.

“People act surprised (by her success at an early age), but I’m just trying to do my best,” recalled Wilson, who also was voted the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week. “I feel blessed (about winning) but it’s really more about doing your best and trying to improve.”

Wilson’s running career has been on a fast and steady incline. After running in the Class 3A state cross country championships in early November, she won the overall women’s divisions of both the Pawleys Island Turtle Strut 5K in mid-November and last week’s Myrtle Beach Area Turkey Trot 5K, which featured more than 1,250 runners.

The only down side for Wilson has been the absence of her mother, who is currently away serving active duty with the US Army. Wilson looks forward to the day she returns, and relies on loved ones and running to help her get through it.

“It’s been hard but I talk to her on the phone every night,” Wilson said. “I get a lot of support from my dad (Van) and family and friends and my church. “If it wasn’t for them it wouldn’t be possible.”

And if she continues her fast and steady improvement, anything is possible.

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