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.

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