British ultrarunner Tom Evans has been mugged at knifepoint while training on the trails in South Africa.
The 31-year-old, who won the Western States 100 earlier this year, had been running alone on Table Mountain when two men ambushed and attacked him.
Evans told Athletics Weekly that he had fought back but stopped when one of the men produced a machete from his backpack.
‘Once the knife was at my throat, they made it very clear they would kill me if I carried on fighting so I stopped,' he said.
‘They got my iPhone 15 and then took my Garmin watch – [collectively] worth about £2500 – then went through my backpack pulling everything out, asking how much things were worth.'
Evans, who has only recently celebrated his one-year wedding anniversary to GB triathlete Sophie Coldwell, also had his wedding ring stolen, despite him pleading with the criminals not to take it.
Evans said the pair then ran off, asking Evans not to follow, so he headed back down off the contour path and down towards Rhodes Memorial and the university to report what happened.
In an Instagram video, Evans announced that he has withdrawn from next weekend’s Ultra-Trail Cape Town 100K as a result of the attack.
‘I've decided that, for me, for my health, it's best not to race next weekend,' he said.
‘Physically my body's OK, I'm pretty beaten up, I'm incredibly sore today but I'll be OK, but mentally it's just trying to get over something like this, doing something that you love, it just seems so unexpected and happened so quickly.'
Organisers of the Ultra-Trail Cape Town event said they have increased security deployments around the entire route of the race next weekend, including community police, private security, Metro Police and horseback patrols in certain areas.
In a statement to AW, race director Stuart McConnachie said: ‘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.'