Ultra Trail Cape Town, set to take place November 24 to 26, will be short one runner after British runner Tom Evans withdrew from the competition after being mugged while on a training run in South Africa.
Evans, a former British Army Captain, was held at knifepoint by two attackers while on a training run on Table Top Mountain. The attackers left Evans with nothing after taking his iPhone 15, his Garmin running watch, and his wedding ring. Evans had just recently celebrated his first wedding anniversary.
Evans took to social media and posted a short video detailing his decision to withdraw.
‘’I have decided not to race in Ultra Trail Cape Town next weekend,” he said in the video, “I was out on the trails yesterday and I was mugged, I was beaten up and held at knifepoint, and everything I had with me was taken.”
‘’Physically, my body is ok – I’m pretty beaten up, and 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, and it just seemed so unexpected and happened so quickly,” he continued in his video.
‘’For those in Cape Town, look after yourself and those around you, and please stay safe.’’
The race director of UTCT, Stuart McConnachie, responded to the incident by releasing an official statement.
“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 counseling.”
“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.”
Following Evans incident and his decision to withdraw, the race organizers said they would be increasing security measures around the course.
“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.”
Additionally, Megan Taplin, Park Manager at Table Mountain National Park, released a statement on the park’s behalf.
“Further investigations into the matter are underway, and we are committed to providing our full support throughout this process,” she said.
“We are working with the other authorities to investigate the incident and prosecute the criminal involved. Our priority is ensuring the well-being and safety of all users in the park.”
Ultra Trail Cape Town is a 100-mile course featuring 7,516 meters of elevation gain, bringing runners through the northern mountain range of the city to the remote southern mountain range.
The event also features a 100k race, 55k race, 35k race, and 23k race, each allowing runners to explore the various Table Mountain Trails.