The Cows Media Release


20 Feb 2019

Embargo: None

Written by: Dave Macleod

The Cows honour heroes of the  Midmar Mile 2019

Pietermaritzburg – With the spray having settled on the 2019 aQuellé Midmar Mile, The Cows are paying tribute to some of their heroes that were amongst the 400 Milers that took part in the world's biggest open water swim on 9 and 10 February.

Together they managed to raise over half a million Rand for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation of SA, with late donations still being deposited into their account.

While every finisher in the black-and-white cowprint swimming costumes is being hailed for their contribution to CHOC and the event, there were several stand-out swimmers representing The Cows.

With hundreds of schoolboys and girls getting involved, Hendrick van der Merwe, who coaches swimming at the Hatfield Christian Academy in Pretoria, was one of the hero Cows.

He was born with Spina Bifida and has gone on to become a world-class paralympian, who is heading back to the World Championships for a sixth time.

Van Der Merwe had plans to swim the Mile eight times, but was too late to secure one of the elusive places in the Eight Miler. "That is definitely still on my bucket list!" he said.

He led a group of more than thirty swimmers from his school to take part in the Midmar Mile and throw their collective weight behind the CHOC fundraiser for The Cows.

"I was so proud of how the pupils took ownership of representing The Cows. They feel very strongly about it and some of them still choose to wear the Cow costumes to training," he said.

He said that he hoped his example would inspire the pupils he coaches to achieve their goals as swimmers.

"It's about taking extreme ownership," says the 28 year old coach, popularily known as "Legs". "If you do that you can achieve anything."

Jade Redman won the Pope-Ellis Ironman trophy for the best combined time for the FNB Dusi, Comrades Marathon and aQuellé Midmar Mile and also swam eight Miles on the weekend.

"It was my first Midmar Mile back after a long break!" she enthused.

"I was asked to help coach a fellow Cow Ntuli Melusi to do the Midmar Mile, and that rekindled my interest in it.

"Sadly he moved away due to work commitments but I kept up the training. It was a lot of fun for a very good cause," said the 29 year old Kloof resident.

The oldest participant in the event was 86 year old Mike "Buthy" Arbuthnot, who has swum the Mile every year since he was part of the group that founded the event in 1974.

The Mile icon was happy to throw his weight behind the CHOC fundraiser and swim in the colours of The Cows.

More information about The Cows can be found at

About The Cows
The Cows were started in 2008 by a group of eight enthusiastic cyclists keen to make a difference and raise funds for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation of South Africa. Cordi van Niekerk was one of the founder members and joined Kerrin and Grant Bain in cycling the 947 Cycle Challenge in memory of their daughter, Jessica, who had recently died from cancer at just 20 months old.

As CHOC had played a significant role in the Bain family's life in the last few weeks of Jessica’s life, specifically with palliative care and emotional support, the decision was to make CHOC the beneficiary of their quest. They decided to don cow suits and succeeded in raising R230 000.

In 2009, the herd gained momentum and grew to 140 energetic cows. Just two years later the herd numbered a staggering 350 cows all riding for a purpose. Armed with the ‘Love Living Life’ slogan and a healthy dose of enthusiasm, the herd has enjoyed much success and acclaim.

Ten later, hundreds of people have participated in events wearing cow suits. The Cows have just broken through the R30 million mark of funds raised for specific projects implemented by CHOC and The Cows brand is prominent in many sporting events in South Africa. With these funds, CHOC is able to make a difference to the children being treated for cancer throughout South Africa.

One herd; one quest: to make a difference to children with cancer. Love Living Life!

More information can be found at


Photo Caption Photographer Click to download the hi-res pic

 The Cows Logo - JPeg


Paralympian Hendrick van der Merwe, the swimming coach at Hatfield Christian School, swam in The Cows colours at the aQuellé Midmar Mile, sharing the monent with pupils he coaches (from left) Joshua Smith, Dean Dollenberg andAntonio Delgado. Jetline ActionPhoto

Jade Redman swam in the colours of The Cows as she won the Pope-Ellis Ironman award for the best combined time at the Comrades, FNB Dusi and the aQuellé Midmar Mile. Jetline ActionPhoto

aQuellé Midmar Mile icon Mike "Buthy" Arbuthnot swam the Mile for the 46th time, and was happy to represent The Cows as a fundraiser for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation of SA. Jetline ActionPhoto

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