Nick Bester attack highlights the reality of runners across the country
Durban - RUNNERS being attacked by robbers has become a common occurrence, with athletes resigning themselves to this fate and doing their best under the circumstances.
This was the view of some running club members who commented in the wake of former Comrades Marathon winner Nick Bester being attacked in the Magaliesberg mountains on Sunday.
Savages Athletic Club chairperson Rob Honneyset said he was shocked to hear of the attack, but said the club’s committee regularly received information about runners being attacked.
“The big problem is that there is nothing we can do.”
He runs with a taser and his daughter, who was attacked five years ago near Moses Mabhida Stadium, runs with pepper spray to protect herself.
He said wherever they ran it was not safe, and he hoped there would be more police foot patrols on routes often used by runners.
Pat Freeman, a member of the Stella Athletic Club, said they too had had incidents where club members were attacked.
She said they were stuck between a rock and a hard place as they could not run in groups for protection because of Covid-19 regulations, while running individually was also a safety hazard.
“The best thing runners can do is carry self-defence weapons like pepper sprays and not run too early in the morning when it’s dark. It’s really hard out there.” Bester’s son Shaun-Nick Bester, 29, said the family was still shocked and angry.
He said his father had gone for a run on Sunday and three men had sneaked up on him and attacked him from behind. They took his cellphone and gun.
His father was now in the High Care Unit at a Pretoria Hospital after being moved out of the Intensive Care Unit.
In a social media post, Shaun-Nick said his father had been severely assaulted by the men and had three broken ribs, a broken cheek bone and had cuts all over his body.
“They took off his clothes and tied him up and left him on the mountain. He managed to escape down the mountain by sliding on his back until he was right against someone's fence.”
Shaun-Nick said he was a professional mountain biker and what happened had shocked him as he often used the route on which his father was attacked.
“We are angry, no one should be treated like this. No one should have to have fear when they go out for a run or walk.
“This is an abnormal situation.”
He hoped the police would be able to track the attackers through his father’s weapon.
“The support that we have been receiving has been encouraging. We have received more than 500 messages on Instagram and Facebook. We have also received calls from people,” he said.