Shoes swopped for water

2013-06-08 00:00

HE swopped his shoes for water and his jacket for food, and became confused due to dehydration and exhaustion.

That was why Christo van Wyk spent four days wandering around in Kloof while trying to walk the Comrades Marathon route in honour of his late brother.

Van Wyk, from Vanderbijlpark, was reunited with family on Thursday and spent the night in hospital.

Van Wyk (46), an electrician, told his family he was protected by an angel during his ordeal, which saw him sleeping in a storm-water drainpipe.

He attempted the route without any training, after his brother, Johan (47), asked him on his death bed three months ago to fulfil his Comrades dream, family friend Bernadine van Staden told Beeld.

Christo travelled to Durban with members of his brother’s running club. “He just wanted to see the route, with an eye to walking it next year. He didn’t intend to participate.”

But on Saturday, Christo walked from their accommodation in Amanzimtoti to Durban. He walked the route through the night and was seen by several athletes on Sunday.

The last time he was seen on the route was at the 20 km mark and then he wandered off in Kloof.

“The neighbourhood watch looked for him, driving around day and night,” said Van Staden.

He was eventually found in a drainpipe under the N3 and taken to the home of a member of the neighbourhood watch, where he had a bath and a meal, and was given some clothes.

His family and friends travelled down from Gauteng to meet him there.

Van Staden said Van Wyk’s mother, Marie, thought she had lost another son. She said that his feet and body were full of sores and he had lost toenails. He was admitted to hospital in Gauteng after their return home.

“The shock and emotion of his brother’s death, and exhaustion and dehydration took a toll,” said Van Staden.

The family thanked all those who helped look for Van Wyk.

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