Former Comrades champion Nick Bester who won the race in 1991 is in ICU after being attacked while training in the Magaliesberg mountains near his house in Pretoria yesterday.
In an Instagram post, Bester's son Shaun-Nick said his father had been hit on the head with a rock, stripped of his clothes and beaten up. The former elite triathlete sustained a broken cheekbone, three broken ribs, and cuts over his entire body.
Pictures of Bester with his face and leg covered in blood were circulated on social media. He was preparing for the Battle of the Sports race when he was attacked.
Shaun-Nick said his father was in ICU where he will be undergoing more scans. "He was kicked, beaten, and threatened with a knife, and he was left with a broken rib, with his attackers stealing his bicycle. They took off his clothes and tied him up and left him on the mountain. He managed to escape by sliding on his back down the mountain until he was right against someone’s fence."
Adriaan Cronje, an administrator at the Nedbank Running Club, where Bester is athlete manager, said, "He was attacked and he is having surgery, but we don’t know any more than that at this stage."
Bestere survived a similar attack in 2010 while out training. And in 2016, he sustained injuries while saving a friend from a potential shark attack in Plettenberg Bay.
Bester started running the Comrades in 1985 where he won a silver medal. His third attempt at the ultra marathon saw him earning his first gold medal when he finished third. The following year he followed it up with a fourth position in 1990. In 1991 Bester eventually won the Comrades in a time of 5:40:53.