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91 Year Old Cochran Aims to Extend Her Midmar Mile Record

 

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After raising the record for the oldest ever finisher of the aQuellé Midmar Mile to 90 years of age in 2014, Lorna Cochran will return in 2015 to improve on that mark, as part of “Lorna’s Gang” – 11 family members covering an incredible four generations.

While Lorna Cochran was born in 1923, the youngest member of Lorna’s Gang, Jessie-Clare, was born in 2006 and will be eight years of age when she takes to the water.

“That little one, she has been swimming very well,” Cochran, the youngest sounding 91-year-old one could imagine, said. “She has a very good coach and he has apparently had her swimming a thousand metres in training every day. That’s a lot of swimming!”

Neil Cochran, who organises the Cochran team along with his wife, Patricia, was enthusiastic about Jessie-Clare’s participation: “She’s absolutely crazy! She’s a lovely child. She just wants to have a go at everything,” he shared.

Lorna Cochran’s participation in the Midmar Mile began at the opposite end of the scale, at the age of 74. It came about when she was looking for a new challenge after she was dropped from the second to the third team at her tennis club, despite the fact that she had beaten the player promoted in her place in both singles and doubles.

When she first took on the Midmar Mile in 1998, it was the first time she had swum competitively since she was in school 60 years earlier! Her training had begun with her swimming about 50 metres at a time before having to float and rest on her back. Since then, she has completed 16 consecutive Midmar Miles.

An inspirational figure, Cochran’s achievements were recognised in 2013 when she was nominated by the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA) for its Woman of the Year Award.

For the 2015 Midmar Mile, Lorna’s Gang will include Greg Cochran, who lives in Australia but regularly attends the Mining Indaba in Cape Town before heading to KwaZulu-Natal for the event, thus combining work and pleasure.

“We swam the Midmar Mile for the fun of it. Once mom did it, she became the motivation for everyone else in the family. It really is only myself and Greg at the first generation level that were swimmers,” Neil Cochran said of Lorna’s Gang.

Lorna Cochran admitted that her build-up to the 2015 Midmar Mile has not been without a few bumps in the road. “I’ve had a few health problems. They’ve given me all sorts of funny medication, which doesn’t really agree with me. Apart from that, I am perfectly well and things seem to have settled down. I just feel somehow that this year, up to now, I haven’t put in as much training as I normally do. The weather has been very otherwise.”

“I will keep training and hope for the best,” she added. “At 91 years old, you don’t say I am going to do this and I am going to do that. It’s a bit ridiculous, but I will give it my best shot.”

The 2015 aQuellé Midmar Mile takes place at the Midmar Dam, just outside of Howick in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, on 7 and 8 February. More information can be found at www.midmarmile.co.za

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