British ultra-runner lost his wedding ring, £2500 watch and iPhone after being threatened with a machete
Tom Evans, winner of the Western States 100 earlier this year and a GB international in cross-country and on the trails, has withdrawn from next weekend’s Ultra-Trail Cape Town 100km race after being brutally mugged during a training run in South Africa.
The former British soldier had to hand over his wedding ring, hi-tech wristwatch and phone after two men ambushed him as he ran alone on Table Mountain in Cape Town.
The 31-year-old was rugby-tackled by two men but he fought back before one of the men pulled out a machete from his backpack.
At this point Evans stopped fighting and had to give up his wedding ring, which he only began wearing in November last year after marrying international triathlete Sophie Coldwell.
“I was mugged, beaten up, attacked and held at knifepoint and everything I had with me was taken,” he said. “So I’ve decided not to race next weekend.
“Physically my body is okay. I’ve pretty beaten up and incredibly sore today and I’ll be okay, but mentally it will be hard to get over something like this. It was so unexpected and happened so quickly.”
View this post on Instagram
On the attack itself, he added: “Once the knife was at my throat they made it very clear they would kill me if I carried on fighting so I stopped.
“They got my iPhone 15 and then took my Garmin watch – both worth about £2500 – 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 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.”
READ MORE: Tom Evans wins Western States
A fellow runner found Evans and helped him back down the path where they then reported the incident.
“For those in Cape Town, look after yourself and those around you and please stay safe,” he added. “It’s been an awesome year and I wont let two criminals spoil my year on the trails.”
Stuart McConnachie, race director of the Ultra-Trail Cape Town event, said: “We are extremely saddened and concerned by what happened to Tom Evans and have reached out to him to offer our support and access to counselling. We were excited to have him race at this year’s RMB Ultra-trail Cape Town but respect his decision to return to the UK.
“The natural beauty of Cape Town and Table Mountain is our greatest asset and perhaps this incident is the catalyst needed for everyone to pull together to find workable solutions to protect this asset that brings so many visitors to our shores.
“We are welcoming over 400 international runners to Cape Town this week and over 2000 runners will take to the trails next Friday, Saturday and Sunday. To ensure everyone’s safety on our trails and address our concern for runners, we have increased our security deployments around the entire route. This includes community police, private security, Metro Police and horseback patrols in certain areas.
“We have the assurance of SANParks, the City of Cape Town, SAPS and Metro Police that strong measures are in place for safety on the trails. We continue to work with them to communicate concerns for runners and hikers, so we can all enjoy the incredible natural beauty we have on our doorstep.”
» Subscribe to AW magazine here