Walker goes missing

2013-06-05 00:00

LOSING his brother to cancer three months ago affected electrician Christo van Wyk (46) of Vanderbijlpark so deeply that he decided to walk the Comrades in his memory — without any training. Somewhere along the route, he went missing on Sunday.

Van Wyk had travelled down to Amanzimtoti by bus last week as part of a group of Gautengers who were taking part in the Comrades Marathon. He had told his fellow passengers that he planned to support the runners.

Comrades runner Marli van der Walt, who was friends with Van Wyk’s brother, Johan (47), said in the early hours of Saturday morning, Van Wyk woke the bus driver in order to get his bag that was still in the bus.

He left the flats where they were staying and proceeded to walk the Marathon’s route from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.

“When we woke up on Saturday, he was gone. We tried calling his phone, but it was not going through. We reported the matter at the Amanzimtoti police station at about 11 am on Saturday,” Van der Walt told The Witness.

On the day of the race, Van der Walt’s husband, who was seconding her during the Marathon, saw Van Wyk walking along the route close to Field’s Hill.

“My husband went up to him and told him we had been looking for him. He told him to stop walking and just get in the car, but he said he really needed to do this for his brother and that we didn’t understand.

“When I met my husband along the route, he told me that Christo was okay, but that he had refused to get into the car.

“About two kilometres later, I saw him and I went to him and told him to get into one of the marshal’s cars that were driving up the route because he wasn’t allowed on the road if he was not running.”

That was the last she saw of him. Returning to their hotel after the race, they discovered that his credit card had been cut up and money had been thrown under the bed.

Van der Walt said Van Wyk’s brother Johan had had a dream of one day taking part in the Comrades, and before he died he told him to run it for him.

“He was very emotional on Sunday and said he was doing it in memory of his brother.”

Back home in Vanderbijlpark, Van Wyk’s mother Marie, son Jaco (17) and ex-wife Sonette were still trying to come to terms with his disappearance. “I don’t think it’s sinking in yet. We are all still hoping that he is out there.

“We have just told Jaco the news now. He seems to be taking it well and hoping that his father is coming back,” said Sonette.

“We’re all still trying to get over the death of Johan and this happens. It’s come to us as a surprise, but we’re trying to be positive.”

Police were unable to confirm Van Wyk’s disappearance yesterday, saying they could not get hold of the officer who deals with missing persons.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.