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British long-distance runner and triathlete Tom Evens was ambushed while training solo on South Africa’s Table Mountain. Evans was set to compete in the RMB Ultra Trail Cape Town 100km race today.
The 31-year-old former army captain was ambushed by two knife-wielding assailants while on a 40K training run. He was tackled by two men near the King’s Blockhouse on Devil’s Peak. Although he put up a fight, it wasn’t until the robbers pulled out a machete and a knife, did he give up. Evans had to hand over his wedding ring, cell phone and Garmin watch. Another runner assisted Evans down the mountain. They reported the robbery, however, a search of the area yielded nothing.
Elite cross country runner for Britain Tom Evans was mugged at knifepoint whilst training in South Africa. His wedding ring, iPhone and £2500 watch were stolen.— The Speech Knight (@thespeechknight) November 18, 2023
I've heard it's a lovely place to go, but very dangerous, not worth the risk. pic.twitter.com/CjCYsqAntI
Apparently, it is well known among the running community that training solo in the area is asking for trouble.
Evans was a favourite to win the race however, he left South Africa shortly after.
“I’ve spoken it over with [wife] Sophie (Caldwell) and it makes sense that if I can’t get myself in the right frame of mind physically or mentally to fly home,” he said. “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.
“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.
“But it is not fair on Sophie to go back up on that mountain to train each day and if I can’t train then I can’t do myself justice in the race so I have no option but to pack my bags. I only got here on Tuesday so it has been short but sadly not-so-sweet.”
The muggers allegedly threatened to cut his finger off to get at his wedding ring.
Evans has a 2:26:07 marathon personal best which he ran in 2017 at the Frankfurt Marathon. The former Welsh Guard finished third in the 251K Marathon de Sables in southern Morocco that same year.
In 2018, Evans won the 101km CCC race at the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB). He broke the course record at the Coastal Challenge Costa Rica as well as the UK’s South Downs Way 50.
In 2020 he took first place at the Ultra-Trail World Tour in New Zealand.