The Cows turn to Yoga Na-Moo-Ste fundraiser

As they rally behind the challenge to raise R10 million to celebrate their tenth year of existence, The Cows in Gauteng turned to yoga for a day of relaxation and a new way to raise money for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation.

Traditionally focused on major events like the upcoming Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge, the upcountry Cows converged on the quiet pastures of the Jeppe Quondam cricket fields in Bedfordview for a morning of yoga aimed at anyone, from hardened expert yogis to total novices.

It produced an event of typical mirth, led by expert yogini Allison van Veijeren as over fifty women took part in the “Na-Moo-Ste” gathering, raising close to R10 000 in the process.

“We are trying to prove that we are not just about cycling,” said The Cows herdmistress Daisy, before packing up to lead the herd down to the Fish River Canoe Marathon in Cradock.

Each of the participants found novel ways to contribute to the fundraiser, over and above paying the fee to take part in the morning yoga session.

Michelle Cook added to the days fundraising success by baking novel Cow biscuits and then added an eye-catching Cow “Christmoo cake” that is currently being raffled.

Pinetown schoolboy stars at 100 Miles of Nowhere

Pinetown schoolboy Jayden Moolman emerged as the unsung hero from the recent gruelling 100 Miles of Nowhere charity bike ride on static training bikes held by The Cows.

The gusty 13 year old pupil from St Benedicts is a keen member of Westville Cycling club, and takes on road races and mount bike events whenever he can.

He got his first taste of 100 Miles Of Nowhere last year when he stepped in to help out teams at the Westville Cadence Cycle Performance Centres.

This year he committed to raising the R1000 needed to secure a bike for annual fundraiser for a team of his friends calling themselves “The Calves”.

Starting with R250 from his pocket money, he rallied together family friends and colleagues, and together with local businesses, he managed to raise over R5000, including securing R3000 from local business Panel Rite Autobody Repairers.

He and his fellow team mates rode courageously and completed the 160 kilometres in an impressive time.

That Friday night was also the annual ROAG prize giving where Moolman was due to get the prize for finishing third sub-junior in the series. Not only did he miss that function to be able to ride the 100 Miles of Nowhere, but he also gave his cash prize to the CHOC fundraiser as well.

“Jayden has the right attitude to his cycling,” said his proud mother Janice Moolman. “He believes in having fun and believes in good sportsmanship always… on a good or bad day! He also wants to use his talent for charity.”

“Sometimes the real heroes of an event like this come from unexpected places,” said organiser of the KZN Herd of The Cows Iris Varty.

“The Calves are such a clear reminder of what we set out to do as The Cows. To have a lot of fun, yes, but more importantly to go that extra mile doing what we love to be able to make a difference to children battling cancer. Jayden was the hero of the day!”

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The Cows size up 100 Miles of Nowhere

Unable to turn their backs on a sporting challenge, a die-hard band of cycling bovines will square up to the task of riding 160 kilometres on a static training bicycle this Friday as their contribution to The Cows fundraiser for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation.

The South African edition of the famous 100 Miles Of Nowhere was started by The Cows in 2011, emulating the iconic fundraiser started by American blogger and cycling enthusiast Eldon Nelson, and has been held at Cadence Cycle Performance Centres around the country.

With a jam-packed calendar and a number of logistical challenges presenting themselves, there was chatter in the herd of The Cows about cancelling the 2017 100 Miles of Nowhere, but the Westville-based core of the herd would have nothing of it, and will tackle the task en masse on Friday afternoon 29 September, starting at 12:30pm.

“The last two years the Westville cadence studio has been jam-packed for the 100 Miles Of Nowhere,” said manager and head coach Matt Wickham.

“When it was decided not to run it at a national level this year, we gave the KZN herd the opportunity to run it as a stand-alone event at the Westville studio, and they jumped at it,” he said.

“They are an incredibly energetic and lively bunch, to say the least,’ he added.

Of the twenty bikes set up at the Westville studio, ten have already been booked for the annual fundraiser.

“We are taking entries of teams, basically any number of riders as not everyone is as fit as they would like to be at this time of year,” he said.

With The Cows having set a national target of R10 million to be raised for CHOC to celebrate the tenth anniversary of The Cows, the sporting enthusiasts are using every opportunity to nudge their national fundraiser closer to that lofty tally.

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New Swazi Cow runs across the Kingdom for CHOC on his birthday

As The Cows work towards their lofty goal of raising R10 million for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation in 2017 to celebrate their tenth anniversary, the latest cow to ‘The Herd’, Swazi fun-lover Nathi Simelane, decided to spend his 34th birthday running 70 kilometres across Swaziland to add his contribution to the snowballing fundraising effort.

Most of The Cows are avid sportsmen and women, but Simelani openly admits that taking on the challenge to run from his home to the Swaziland Ngwenya/Oshoek Border Post, and then down to Malandela’s Farm Restaurant & Pub was as much about trying to get back into shape as it was a fundraiser for CHOC.

“I discovered two rather disturbing facts the other day,” said Simelane. “One – I can no longer see my toes when I look down, but that’s obviously because I’m getting old and my sight is going…or my feet are shrinking due to the same fact.

“Two – All my jeanpant are getting really tight around the waist. Obviously the wife buys that cheap washing powder, which shrinks everything….or she washes with cold water to save electricity,” he chirped.

“So, in order to regain my youth and fit comfortably into my pants, I’ve decided to embark on a small mission to help me accomplish this somewhat difficult feat,” he added.

Simelane first encountered the work done by The Cows on social media before making a personal connection.

“I saw The Cows online doing fundraising for CHOC, and then found out that my friend Lynne is part of the Herd…and the rest is history,” says Simelane.

“I have previously done two fundraisers here, for the Swazi Breast and Cervical Cancer Network and the New Hope Centre, and each fundraiser encompassed one leg of the route, so I decided to go big and combine them!” he added.

So with just his wife in support, he formally joined the Herd and was sent his black and white Cow running kit, while he started badgering all his contacts on social media to contribute towards his run.

On 16 September, with his wife supporting him, Simelane set off at midnight, and reached the end of his journey early in the afternoon.

“I attracted quite a lot of attention on the road and on Facebook…but then again, if you saw somebody running around dressed as a cow….” recalls Simelane.

“It got to 35 degrees at about 11 o’clock so as you can imagine, I was well impressed with life at that point.” he added.

He took to Facebook straight away after reaching the finish, exhorting his online friends to make a contribution. “Thank you guys! it was a long day out. Now you must pay. I don’t punish myself for nothing…c’mon….cough up!”

His friends responded, and helped make up the basic pledge take by any athlete keen to don The Cows gear for CHOC by raising at least R6000 for CHOC.

“It has been unbelievable to follow Nathi’s adventure from a distance,” said Daisy, the convener of The Cows. “Not only is he one of our newest members, but he looks to have sown the seed for a whole new Herd of The Cows in Swaziland.

“Nathi’s adventure really sums up the slogan of The Cows – “Love Living Life”, and we are really proud of what he achieved, and started for The Cows in Swaziland,” she added.

GABRAN 2017 sets a new record for The Cows

A group of around 120 cyclists braved the icy weather to take part in the annual GABRAN (Great Annual Bicycle Ride Across Natal), hosted by the Westville Cycle Club from the 18th to 20th August, helping to set a new record for money raised for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation.

The passionate sportsmen and women of The Cows individually raised money through raffles and personal pledges, helping to collect R185 000 that will go towards The Cows national target of R10 million for 2017.

Just 24 hours after the cold front swept over KwaZulu-Natal, blanketing the mountains in snow, the group of cyclists took to the roads from ATKV in Drakensville for the three day ride to Hillcrest, with two overnight stops on route.

“It was by the far the coldest it has been over the last four years since the return of GABRAN,” said The Cows co-ordinator Lynne Mcrae.

“But that didn’t dampen the spirits of the cyclists, as they were out there riding for the cause, to raise as much mooo-lah as possible for CHOC.

“This year, there were a number of youngsters who braved the meandering roads and a few steep hills to do their bit for a super hero they have never met,” said Mcrae.

“The cyclists and our GABRAN friends did not disappoint and helped us raise a staggering R185 000, better the R150 000 we raised last year.”

Since The Cows got involved with GABRAN in 2014, they have raised R570 000 for CHOC in four years.

“We owe a huge debt of thanks to Westville Cycle Club Chairman and Chairlady, Kelvin and Corinne du Sart, who are always ready to support the cause, and indeed the sport of cycling that they are so passionate about,” she concluded.

More information can be found at 

Spring Family Day Ride set to get Durban mooo-ving

Cycling enthusiasts will be celebrating the onset of spring on Saturday 2 September with a Spring Day Family Ride in Durban that will also channel it’s energy into a fundraiser for The Cows and their ongoing drive to support the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation.

Starting and finishing the Pick n Pay Hypermarket Durban North, the ride gets under way at 6:30 am and the riders are encouraged to come dressed up to celebrate Spring Day, and will get a hot cup of coffee and large muffin for their R50 entry donation.

The ride will be carefully managed by the organising team from Cycle Specialists, ensuring that all the road crossings on the out-and-back course to La Lucia are closed to traffic when the group of riders pass.

“Doing good is good business. We Support and participate in our communities,” said Kevin Goosen, the general manager of the Pick n Pay Hypermarket.

The hosts at the Pick n Pay Hypermarket have laid on a number of lucky draw prizes as well for entrants with a Smart Shopper card, with a quick card registration site available at the store to assist participants.

The Cows have raised over R29 million for CHOC in the past nine years, and have set a lofty target of R10 million in 2017 to celebrate their tenth anniversary.

“September is Childhood Cancer awareness month, and their slogan is ‘Go For Gold’, so participants are encouraged to ride wearing a gold ribbon that will be available to buy at the start,” said Iris Varty, one of the conveners of the KZN Herd of The Cows.

She added that there will be CHOC merchandise available to buy at the start as well, to contribute to the days fundraising drive.

“Kids will be able to interact with the two CHOC mascots at the store, and the serious Cows will also be in their furry Cow suits,” she added.

There will also be a short Kids Fun Ride on a safe track in the parking lot of the Pick n Pay Hypermarket Durban North. All riders should wear cycling helmets to be able to participate. Participating children will also be eligible for luck draw  prizes after the ride.

There is no pre-entry. Registration can be done at the Pick n Pay Hyper Durban North between 3pm and 7pm on Friday afternoon 1 September or from 5:30 on Saturday morning 2 September.

The Cows’ Believe MTB race celebrates it’s seventh year

Mountain biking fans from around the country will converge on Northern Farm outside Fourways for the seventh edition of one of the most unique races on the calendar, the Believe MTB Race and an important fundraiser for The Cows and their ongoing drive to support the Childhood Cancer Foundation CHOC.

The Believe MTB Race set a new record for entries for a debut event when it was launched in 2009 by Marc and Charlie Bainbridge when it attracted over 1400 riders, and has matched this level of support every year since then, thanks mainly due to the heavy emphasis on fun.

Riders have traditionally been presented with a glass at the finish instead of a medal, often accompanied by a celebratory ‘shot’, reflecting the antics that are typical at the shooters table stationed at the water tables on the route.

Dress-up is almost mandatory, and the day’s most prestigious award is the Mad Mulley’s Award for the best dressed person.

Seven years on, the Believe MTB Race has grown into something of a Gauteng institution, and even though the Bainbridges have moved to Mbombela, the race will continue in it’s zany format.

Marc and Charlie Bainbridge joined The Choc Cows in 2008, and after creating the Believe MTB race as their way of creating funds for the cause, Marc joined the Cows committee in 2010 to further assist wherever possible.

“Marc’s brother Craig came back from Dubai after he was diagnosed with cancer, and we started fundraising for his treatment with Marc riding to Cape Town. We then decided we would start our own annual fundraiser for The Cows, and decided to do a totally different mountain bike race.

Craig always had the word ‘Believe” tattooed across his chest, as a mantra he lived by, which is where we got the name for the mountain bike race,” she added.

“The Cows do things totally differently, so we set out to put together a race that was based heavily on fun. We encourage riders to come dressed up, but The Cows need very little encouraging to do that anyhow!

“The shooter tables have become pretty legendary as well, and while we always get a number of the top elite riders coming to do the race every year, they understand that there is no big cheque for them at the end because this is all about raising money for The Cows.

She says that having to relinquish control of the race when they moved east was difficult.

“It has been an act of family labour for the last six years, “ says Bainbridge. “I am a control freak, so offloading the race was really hard. We had a big say in how we wanted the race to be run going forward, to make sure the ethos remains the same. By bringing in the right partner in Richard Beswick and Illumin8, riders will be guaranteed an even better race going forward” she added.

The event on 30 September will once again offer skilled riders a testing 55km course with technical demands and flowing single track, while the 25km and 10km races are far easier and less technically demanding.

“We really want everyone to get involved, so there is also a 1km ‘race’ to get the little ones in on the action as well,” she said.

More information can be found at  and

GABRAN Cow goes the extra mile

As entries 2017 GABRAN (Great Annual Bike Ride Across Natal) start to arrive at The Cows HQ Paddock, some of the stalwarts of the sport-mad charity fund raisers have gone the extra mile to raise money for the Childhood Cancer Foundation CHOC.

Durban based Wayne Campbell, a member of the Kings Park Cycling Club, is a GABRAN veteran, and committed to helping GABRAN contribute to the global goal of The Cows to raise R10 million in 2017 to commemorate the tenth year of their existence.

Campbell was working on site in Cato Ridge when he noticed a substantial amount of scrap metal on site. He arranged for this to be delivered to a scrap metal dealer, which raised a substantial amount, which he topped up to R30 000, which he gladly donated to the GABRAN 2017 kitty.

“I have done most of the GABRANs over the last five or six years, but this year unfortunately I will be missing it because I will be away overseas,” said Campbell.

He said that arranging to have the scrap metal sold to add to the GABRAN fundraiser was typical of the way that The Cows operate.

“Where I can, I do,” he said.

The GABRAN is such a special event, and I would definitely have dine it again if I had been around,” he explained.

“First of all, it is a ride and not a race. It is social in nature and a lot of fun.

“It is also a successful fundraiser, and getting involved with like minded people to raise money for CHOC, while riding through these beautiful places is really special.

“The fun and hospitality at places like the famous Escourt Bowling Club, all the breakfast stops, the pit-stop at the Bierfassl in Nottingham Road, together with the fun and games that are organised at the overnight stops, make it really memorable,” he added.

“It all starts the night before, because most people choose to stay at the ATKV at the start of the race, and the fun evening there tends to set the tone for the rest of the ride,” he said.

The race is open to any cycling enthusiast looking to enjoy the leisurely 283km ride from the foothills of the Drakensberg to the outskirts of Durban. Minors who are 14 years or older are welcome if accompanied by an adult.

While road bikes are the popular choice, many opt for tandems or mountain bikes, and the odd unicycle or mini cycle has also completed the fun event.

The first stage is a 100km ride from ATKV in Drakensville, followed by an 87km second stage to Howick, and finishes with a 94km closing stage to Hillcrest.

Wild Coast challenge for The Cows stalwart

No stranger to a sporting challenge, Durban based stalwart of The Cows Gordon Reid will be donning his black and white furry cow suit to take on the unique Go-Chi-Mor hike on the Wild Coast from 4 to 6 August to raise funds for the Childhood Cancer Foundation CHOC.

Reid, an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer and paddler who has taken part in the Comrades, Midmar Mile, Tour Durban and the Dusi Canoe Marathon as part of his decade long drive to help children battling with cancer and their families, heard about the two day event and couldn’t turn his back on the opportunity.

“The event was run last year for the first time by the best friend of my best man,” said Reid. “It sounded like such good fun, so when they were looking for a charity to support, I jumped at the opportunity.”

“That’s what The Cows is all about. We raise money for CHOC with other like-minded athletes, and it sounds like the vibe at this event will be fantastic.”

The event is a two day hike or run along the coast, starting at Gonubie and overnighting at Chintsa, before finishing at Morgan Bay the next day.

Reid said he wasn’t worried about the challenge of taking part in the furry Cow suit, which is notoriously hot. “Who knows, if it is chilly, I will be the warmest person there!” he quipped.

Reid will channel all the money raised to CHOC, which supports CHOC houses in the Eastern Cape.

“The financial support we get from The Cows is very important ,” said Debbie Kleinenberg, the CHOC regional manager in the Eastern Cape, running two CHOC Houses in East London.

“We operate 21 beds for youngsters and their mothers, but where we are always under pressure is with the operating costs of the houses,” she said.

She said that while the Eastern Cape doesn’t have a formal ‘herd’ of The Cows, they were regularly active in fundraising, and they have branded their minibus and premises with bold black and white cow livery.

She added that education and awareness was a critical element of what they do in the region.

“We have a regional co-ordinator responsible for these awareness programmes, but what makes it challenging is the fact that we have to service a massive rural area in addition to East London and Port Elizabeth.

“What we are working towards is getting a suitable vehicle that will allow the co-ordinator to get into remote rural areas to carry out these awareness and education workshops,” said Kleinenberg.

“Ultimately we want to get a CHOC House established in Port Elizabeth as well,” she concluded.

For Reid, there is a secondary goal. “We would love to get a new Herd of The Cows active in the Eastern Cape.

“I know there are plenty of passionate sportsmen and women, and so many great events in the region, that an Eastern Cape Herd of The Cows could be really successful,” said Reid.

The Go-Chi-Mor is a two day trail run/ walk from Gonubie to Chintsa (19km) ending at Morgan’s bay (26km) and takes place from 4 to 6 August 2017.