Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Compiled by Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

Elite trail runner Tom Evans reveals details of attack on Table Mountain

"What happened was very traumatic with two men with a machete and kitchen knife threatening to kill me."

One of the world’s most respected ultra trail runners, Tom Evans, has detailed how he was robbed at knife-point while training for this coming week’s 100km Ultra Trail Cape Town race, one of the world’s toughest ultra-distance running events.

The British athlete, who was the favourite to win the main race set in the forests and trails of Table Mountain, is to return home after being attacked by two robbers while training for the race on Friday.

Evans, the winner of this year’s famous Western States ultra trail marathon in the USA and favourite to win the Cape Town race this weekend, told the Daily Mail about his ordeal.

‘Knife at my throat’

The 31-year-old former army captain was rugby-tackled by the robbers and while he was able to fight off the one man, the second attacker pulled a knife on him.

“Once the knife was at my throat they made it very clear they would kill me if I carried on fighting so I stopped,” Evans told the Mail.

He continued: “’They got my iPhone 15 and then took my Garmin watch … both worth about £2500 (R50,000) … then went through my backpack pulling everything out, asking how much things were worth.

“Then they spotted my wedding ring and said if I didn’t take it off they would cut if off. I have just celebrated my first wedding anniversary and I asked them to not take it.

“The knife was pushed in harder and I thought Sophie (his wife) would rather have me back in one piece than the ring, so I took it off and gave it to them, which was so very hard to do.

“They told me not to follow and ran off, and I headed back down off the contour path and down towards Rhodes Memorial and the university to report what happened.”

‘Catalyst needed’

South African National Park Rangers searched the area but found no one.

Ultra Trail Cape Town race director Stuart McConnachie said the organisation was extremely saddened and concerned by what happened to Evans.

“We were excited to have him race this year but respect his decision to return to the UK.

“Perhaps this incident is the catalyst needed for everyone to pull together to find workable solutions to protect this asset (Table Mountain) that brings so many visitors to our shores.”

Over 400 international trail runners and 4000 in total will be in Cape Town this week for the trail running evens this coming weekend.

“We have increased our security deployments around the entire route,” said McConnachie.

‘Threatening to kill me’

Evans said he didn’t know if he’d return to South Africa in future.

“I have travelled all over Africa and had great experiences but this is my first time in South Africa and in Cape Town and it is very sad that I have been forced to leave,” said Evans.

“But what happened was very traumatic with two men with a machete and kitchen knife threatening to kill me … and that will sadly be my memory of my first visit over here.

“Will I come back? Who knows? I’ve always wanted to do the Cape Town ultra-trail as it is one of the toughest in the world and I hope in the future I will catch a plane back.”

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