Gutsy Ridge Park College set for Midmar Challenge for CHOC

Eleven gutsy schoolgirls from Ridge Park College will take on their first aQuellé Midmar Mile this weekend in the colours of The Cows to raise money for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation.

They will be accompanied by their school’s new sport co-ordinator Amber Kilfoil, who responded to an email from the local co-ordinator of The Cows Iris Varty looking to involve as many schools as possible in the Herd of The Cows taking part in the world’s biggest open water swim on the weekend.

“Our principal jumped at the idea!” said Kilfoil. “We are not a big swimming school, as we have traditionally focussed on netball and running, but we had a small group of girls that were willing to take on this challenge.

“The idea of racing in the Cow costumes was a big drawcard for sure,” she added. “But that brought its own challenges, which The Cows sorted out really nicely for us, making up special full length suits for the Muslim girls taking part.”

Kilfoil said she was bowled over by the enthusiasm and commitment from the group of schoolgirls, particularly as funding is not easy for many of them.

“It has been difficult for some of them with transport to our early morning training sessions. We have also committed as group to raising the full amount of money asked by The Cows to be part of their Herd.

“We already have some money collected, and we will fundraise the balance through cake sales, breyani sales, and we will be raffling an awesome beanbag at our inter house swimming gala,” she said.

Kilfoil said getting the group of eleven girls to the fitness levels needed to confidently take on the Mile has been demanding.

“When we started the fitness levels were basically zero! They were capable of doing fifteen or twenty lengths of the school pool at best. Now our Midmar training is around a hundred lengths.

“As a school we take part in the A league galas, and while we don’t win races, we are always there.

“The girls are so excited and very nervous for the challenge of the Midmar Mile, and so excited to be able to do it for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation.

She added that all eleven learners had committed to doing more than raise money, and wanted to visit the Inkosi Albert Lithuli Hospital, where The Cows help fund a CHOC House where children receiving cancer treatment can stay with their parents.

“They can’t wait to go to the hospital and give the children as much energy and encouragement as they can,” said Kilfoil.

 

Brave swimmers to tackle Jozini Dam Gorge crossing

Five gutsy open water swimmers will attempt the first ever crossing of the Jozini Dam Gorge in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, on Sunday 21 January, raising funds for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation.

The eight kilometre long swim up the Gorge, which separates the Lebombo and Ubombo mountain ranges, will start at the entrance to the Gorge and finish at the Tiger Lodge at the Jozini dam wall.

The group is made up of Mike Oberholzer, Ruth and Jay Azran, a South African couple who currently live in Swaziland, Andrew Stevens, a South African living in Australia, and Mauritian Jose De Charmoy.

“What makes this swim so unique is that the dam is flanked by private wildlife reserves as well as the Pongola Game Reserve. Wildlife abound in the area including the infamous tiger-fish, hippo and crocodiles,” says Jay Azran.

The initiative is the brain-child of Ruth Azran who has lost both her mother and brother to cancer.

‘’About three years ago, following the death of my mother, I decided that one day in their honour I would swim the length of the gorge,” says Ruth Azran.

“That time has now come, and I am truly fortunate to have my husband and three very competent other swimmers join me on this challenge.

“I chose to do it for CHOC because it is a cause that is very close to my heart, especially in our younger generation and I really liked their fundraising component called the COWS. We will be sporting our cow costumes and swimming caps on the day and give it our best shot,” she said.

“We definitely all share some nervous anticipation for the swim, but feel confident that we have done sufficient training,” added Jay Azran.

The venture has been backed by a number of local businesses, including Tiger Lodge, Royal Jozini Private Game Reserve – Swaziland, Cycad Rock Lodge, Shayamoya Game Lodge, White Elephant Safari Lodge and Nimue Skin Technology.’

So far nine support boats with some eagle-eye scouts have been organised to assist in deterring wildlife. The swim is due to start at 9am and should take about three hours to complete.

Financial pledges can be be made online at www.givengain.com/ap/JoziniGorgeSwim.

The Voice, The Sharks and The Cows all set for Sharks Trail Adventure

With another big field entered for the STIHL Sharks Trail Adventure on Sunday 3 December, families can look forward to a full day of mountain biking and trail running before relaxing and enjoying the holiday atmosphere at the Summerveld Estate with live music and members of the Cell C Sharks on hand to spend time with their fans.

With a special Sunday edition of the Shongweni Farmers Market under the plane trees providing an ideal opportunity to browse for food, drink and special Christmas gifts, the popular family fun day will feature live music on stage from Durban star of The Voice Freddy L.

“We are really looking forward to this gig ,” said Freddy L, who has a loyal following as the frontman of the popular group The Subway Run, and will be performing as a duo with his wife at the Shongweni event.

“People can look forward to a laid back, stripped down acoustic set, with touches of the music of the Lumineers, Kings of Leon and Majozi, reworked for a chilled Sunday afternoon,” he added.

Cell C Sharks players will be on hand throughout the day to meet their fans, including the likes of Jacques Vermeulen, Tera Mthembu, Franco Marais, Ryno Smith, Garth April, Keegan Daniel and new signing Rob du Preez Jnr.

Adding their own unique brand of fun to the event are the feisty men and women of The Cows, who will be manning seconding tables at the trail running and MTB races.

Well known for their furry Cow suits, which they wear while taking part in almost every major sporting event in the country, The Cows use their passion for endurance events to raise money for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation.

The organisation was founded at the 947 Cycle Challenge ten years ago, and they have just passed the R30 million mark raised to support the CHOC initiatives, and they fund CHIOC Houses at many state hospital that allow parents to stay with their children while they are undergoing cancer treatment.

“We had the STIHL Sharks Trail on our radar as we are all crazy riders and runners,” said local organisers of The Cows in KZN Iris Varty.

“When the Impi team approached us to handle the seconding tables, we jumped at it. This was we are out on the trails having fun and at the same time adding to the fundraising for CHOC in our tenth anniversary year,” she added.

The Cows are aiming to raise R10 million to commemorate their tenth year of existence.

Late entries can be done on the day of the race, once the online entries close at midday on the Wednesday 29th November. A 15% family discount applies to four or more entries.

Entry for the various events is now open via the ROAG website www.roag.co.za

The 2017 STIHL Sharks Trail Adventure takes place at Summerveld Estate in Shongweni on Sunday 3 December.

Entries can be submitted online via www.roag.co.za and more information can be found at www.sharkstrailadventure.co.za.

 

Gutsy Winston Park couple make a bold CHOC statement at Amashova

Winston Park couple Michelle and Oliver Sinclair were amongst the thousands who rode the recent Tsogo Sun Amashova cycle race, but they made a bold statement in the black and white cycling gear of The Cows as championed the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation that has become very close to their hearts.

Oliver, or Ollie as he is known to those close to him, is a Multiple Sclerosis sufferer and rode in a specially modified hand cycle, with his wife Michelle on hand to help during the 35km race to Durban.

“Ollie has basically the left hand side of his body to use and his balance is not good, so he has ridden the Amashova in his hand cycle three times now. But this was the first time that we have done it for The Cows,” said Michelle Sinclair.

“While he was getting treatment in hospital Ollie was in the paediatric ward and saw first-hand what children go through when getting cancer treatment,” she added.

“To experience what a difference it makes to let kids have their families with them while they are getting cancer treatment really struck home, so we were proud to ride the Amashova for CHOC. It feels fantastic to be part of something that really makes a difference,” she said.

The hand cycle played into Ollie hands on the steep descents, but took a lot of extra effort to get up the hills, where Michelle used the bar on the back of the hand cycle to help push him to the summit of each hill.

“When you are cycling, the downhills are usually the time to rest, but not with Ollie,” said Michelle. “We were doing over 80km/h going down Fields Hills and I was pedalling like mad to try and keep up with him!”

The ride turned into a much tougher outing than they were expecting after a mishap close to the finish.

“We were actually doing really well and got to Tollgate in less than an hour, but then Ollie got a flat tyre, and with the very unusual tyres on his hand cycle, we couldn’t repair it.

“We agreed that we weren’t going to give up, having come this far, so he rode on the flat tyre all the way to the finish,” said Michelle.

She said that the support from fellow riders and spectators had kept them going.

“Wherever you go in The Cows kit, you get a special reaction. It is amazing and very humbling to be able to go out and raise awareness for CHOC at an event like the Amashova.

The Sinclair family have become stand-out supporters of The Cows. Their son Tyler got a special award from the Winston Park Primary School for raising R11 000 for CHOC through a passionate fundraiser that started with pooling all his pocket money.

Paddling Cows make hay while the sun shines at 2017 Fish

The Paddling Herd of the sport-loving fundraisers The Cows made a striking debut at the 2017 Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon, launching the canoeing arm of the well-established cycling, swimming and running body, and raising a large amount for cancer related charities.

Paddling in their distinctive black-and-white Cow kit, the inauguration of the paddling Herd attracted 25 Cows in 11 boats to take on the 82 kilometre, two-day event, one of the highlights of the annual paddling calendar.

In the process they managed to raise over R120 000 through the novel fundraising tools championed by The Cows, with more donations, pledges and sponsorships still coming in.

“The Fish and The Cows are a great fit,” said Daisy, the chief organisers behind The Cows. “This is the one canoeing event in the year where fun is a top priority, which is exactly the same way that we do business at The Cows.”

“We support the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation, and as October is Cancer Awareness Month, this added value to what we set out to do.

“The race has done a fantastic job of supporting the Cradock Cancer Care Unit over the years, and we were delighted to be able to divert some of the funds that we raised to this important facility as well,” said Daisy.

“The entire collaboration with the race committee was so positive, right from the outset, and I hope we can build on this in years to come,” she added.

The Cows went about their business in typically raucous fashion and made a big impact on the race, in the hope that they could spur-on more paddlers to join the Paddling Herd at the other major races during the summer.

“We are ordinary men and women who use the chance to do what we love to make a difference to the lives of children battling cancer.

“I hope we can welcome more paddlers to join the Herd for some of the big races in the future, like the N3TC Drak and the FNB Dusi,” she said.

The Paddling Herd had an ideal pre-Fish warm up at the VKB Liebenbergsvlei marathon a few weeks before the Fish, where the tone was set for the fun and festivity that will be synonymous with the canoeing arm of The Cows.

The launch of the Paddling Herd of The Cows coincides with the tenth anniversary of the popular sporting “fun-draisers” during which time they hope to raise R10 million for CHOC.

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!”

More information can be found at www.100milesofnowhere.co.za

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.

More information can be found at www.100milesofnowhere.co.za

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 www.gabran.co.za