British athlete Tom Evans has decided to withdraw from the Nov. 26 Ultra-Trail Cape Town (UTCT) in South Africa after being mugged while on a training run. In July, Evans, a former British Army Captain, became the first Briton ever to win the legendary Western States 100. Evans, 31, had been excited to tackle UTCT 100K as the final race of his 2023 season, but an unexpected attack derailed his racing plans and has the runner headed home.
“I’ve decided not to race in UTCT next weekend, Evans shared on Instagram.”I was out on the trails yesterday and I was mugged, I was beaten up, I was attacked, I was held at knifepoint, and everything that I had with me was taken.”
The runner’s wedding ring, Garmin watch and iPhone were taken after two men ambushed him on a solo training run on Table Mountain in Cape Town, Athletics Weekly reported. The athlete was rugby-tackled by two men, and fought back, until one of the men pulled out a machete from his backpack. He was reluctant to give up his wedding ring–of sentimental value after recently celebrating his one-year anniversary with triathlete Sophie Caldwell. “Once the knife was at my throat they made it very clear they would kill me if I carried on fighting so I stopped.”
Damn – that's scary. Glad he's taking care of himself.
— Amelia Boone (@ameliaboone) November 18, 2023
“The knife was pushed in harder [to his neck] 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,” Evans said. The attackers told Evans not to follow as they ran off, and Evans headed to find help and report the crime. “Physically my body is OK. I’m pretty beaten up and incredibly sore today. But mentally it’s just trying to get over something like this, doing something you love..it just seems so unexpected and happened so quickly.”
“For those in Cape Town, look after yourself and those around you and please stay safe, Evans said.”It’s been an awesome year and I won’t let two criminals spoil my year on the trails.”
Stuart McConnachie, race director of Ultra-Trail Cape Town, 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 U.K.”
With more than 400 international runners coming to Cape Town for the race, and over 2,000 runners competing, UTCT has “increased security deployments around the entire route,” says McConnachie.”This includes community police, private security, Metro Police and horseback patrols in certain areas.”