The Cows Media Release


21 Jan

Embargo: None

Written by: Dave Macleod

The Cows embrace Midmar Mile milestone event

Pietermaritzburg - When thousands of swimmers converge on Midmar Dam for the aQuellé Midmar Mile on 8 and 9 February, it will be a milestone event for The Cows, who channel their passion for sport into fundraising for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation.

As loyal supporters of the world’s biggest open water swim, the black-and-white clad swimmers have been given the privilege of hosting their own batch that will kick start the 2020 event as the first event on the Saturday.

That batch has attracted swimmers from every corner of the country, with close on 300 swimmers committing to swim for CHOC, with well over R100 000 raised already for CHOC.

“We are thrilled to have been given our own batch,” said Iris Varty, who as the Durban Daisy is co-ordinating The Cows at what they have dubbed the “Midmoo Mile”.

There is a loyal core of schoolboys and schoolgirls that passionately swim in the colours of The Cows, with a large contingent travelling down from the Holy Rosary School in Johannesburg, an event that the school has supported since 2014.

The Hatfield Christian Academy from Pretoria will also drive down to Midmar to swim for The Cows. They will rally around their inspirational swimming coach Paralympic swimmer Hendrick van der Merwe.

He has set his sights on the tough task of swimming the fabled 8 Miler, covering the Midmar Mile course eight times on the weekend.

“There are so many people who have been directly or indirectly affected by cancer that we just want to do something for kids suffering from cancer, while having fun,” said Hatfield Academy’s David Crewe-Brown. “It is a chance for the kids to do something that matters while conquering the aQuellé Midmar Mile!

“Hendrik is our school coach and he has not had the use of his legs since birth,” he added. “ He is a great swimmer and is trying to qualify for the next paralympics.

“He said he would love to take on the challenge to do the 8 Miler and then I told him to do it for CHOC so we can get many people rallying around him supporting him and this great cause”, added Crewe-Brown.

One of the founder members of the Midmar Mile, Mike Arbuthnot, will be back to cover the distance across Midmar Dam in the Cows colours.

In the big group that will be representing The Cows in the first event of the weekend will be former champion Tracy Mckay, winner of the event in 2018 and runner up in 2019.

The local supporters have also banded together into training groups, like the Midmoo Nutellas, to support the collective fundraising initiatives.

“It would be awesome to get some of the big schools in the Pietermaritzburg and the Midlands involved to swim for The Cows,” added Varty. “It is a great event to tackle as a school, and by swimming for CHOC the kids get the sense of contributing to a greater cause while taking on the personal challenge of swimming the Mile.”

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 raised well over R30 million 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 last year's aQuellé Midmar Mile, sharing the moment at the finish with pupils he coaches (from left) Joshua Smith, Dean Dollenberg and Antonio Delgado. Van Der Mwerwe will back to try and swim the * Miler for CHOC this year. Jetline ActionPhoto

Swimming coach and paralympian Hendrick Van Der Merwe will lead another big contingent of pupils from the Hatfield Christrian Academy to the aQuellé Midmar Mile on 8 and 9 February. Supplied

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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