South Coast stalwart set to run tenth Comrades for CHOC
Durban - With 20 000 runners gearing up for the 2018 Comrades Marathon on 10
June, remarkable South Coast runner Deborah Berridge will be aiming to make
the most of her tenth Comrades to raise money for the CHOC Childhood Cancer
Foundation by running in the colours of The Cows.
After moving down to the KZN South Coast she started her running career
cautiously, but soon progressed to the point of being able to take on and
complete her first Comrades with South Coast Striders in 2009.
Totally bitten by the long distance running bug, Berridge used her new found
passion for running to organise a series of local fun runs to allow her to
raise money for a number of local charities.
She became friends with blind runner Judy Smith, who had been looking for a
fellow runner to act as her guide for training runs and races; now the pair
run together three to four times a week.
“She has a stocking that has a slip knot on one end,” explains Berridge.
“It’s a lot like steering a horse. I use the cord to push or sometimes I
Not wanting to let her running partner down, Berridge trained even harder to
make sure she could keep up with Smith.
“I ran many a training run behind her just trying to keep up,” says Berridge.
“I had to make sure I was fitter and faster than her, as her one worry was
that her guide could not take her to the end of a race,” she added.
Excited by the prospect of earning her green permanent number for finishing
her tenth Comrades, Berridge is going all out to try and reach a goal set by
her club captain Mark Smith to raise R10 000 on her own to commemorate her
tenth Comrades medal.
Income from her fun runs and raffles have started to add up and local
sponsors have helped make her dream a reachable reality.
In addition to running for The Cows and their year-round support of the CHOC
Childhood Cancer Foundation, Berridge will also be running to celebrate the
victory over cancer of a school colleague Dean Ducroq who won his battle
“In Standard Two we were all told he would be wearing a wig and we were not
to tease him or try to take it off,” she recalls.
“I remember in Standard Eight he was away from school a lot as he was
receiving treatment. He finished his matric by correspondence.”
She reconnected with him recently after a search on Facebook and found he
was living on the East Rand.
“I asked Dean to come to our 30th reunion and bring something of his I could
pin on my running kit,” says Berridge. “I will be running 2018 Comrades in
honour of him surviving cancer as a child. He said I could use his CHOC
patient number 551114. I will write this on my race number or onto my leg
with a marker.”
“I also got two bling D’s that I will tie onto the laces. I also found a
small bell. It is not as big or noisy as a cow bell, but it will make a
statement,” said Berridge.
The Shelley Beach runner was the last of a family of Gauteng runners to take
on the Comrades, and made her debut in 2009.
“I kept my training a secret from my family,” recalls Berridge. “I only told
my brother and sister in January, but I did not tell my other sister or my
“My mom came down from Roodepoort by bus to spend a week with me before
Comrades, when she got to my house I showed her my entry for Comrades. She
thought it was something I typed up and was joking with her. We then told my
older sister,” she remembers.
“Mom was soon on the phone letting her friends know she had three children
running Comrades that year!”
Berridge is holding a 5/10km charity fun run, walk and cycle from Uvongo
Fishing Pier on Monday, 2 April.
All funds raised will go towards The Cows, who support the CHOC Childhood
Cancer Foundation South Africa, one of three new Comrades Amabeadibeadi
Entries on race day cost R25 with registration from 7:30am to 7:55am before
the start of the event at 8am. Runners, walkers, cyclists, wheelchairs and
prams are welcome, and participants may also bring their dog if it’s on a
Entrants are encouraged to wear cow-print costumes or black and white. To
enter of for more information, contact organiser Deborah Berridge on 072 132
More information 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 CHOC. Cordi van Niekerk was
one of the founder members and joined Kerrin and Grant Bain in cycling the
94.7 Cycle Challenge in memory of their little 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 an incredible 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 R29 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
More information can be found at
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