UK ultramarathon star Tom Evans mugged at knifepoint in Cape Town

Cape Town's Table Mountain National Park is one the most popular hiking and trail running areas in South Africa, but has seen an increase in opportunistic robberies in recent years. Nardus Engelbrecht/Gallo Images/Getty Images

British ultramarathon star Tom Evans has withdrawn from the RMB Cape Town Ultra Trail marathon this week, after being mugged at knifepoint while out on a training run on Table Mountain on Friday.

Former Army captain Evans, one of the world's premier long distance trail runners, announced on social media that he opted to withdraw from the race to focus on his mental health, after being robbed by two men.

He wrote on Instagram: "Physically, my body's ok (although) I'm pretty beaten up... but mentally it's just, trying to get over something like this, doing something you love.... and it just seems so unexpected and happened so quickly.

"For those who're still in Cape Town, I wish you the best of luck in the race but, more importantly, look after yourselves and look after those around you because your safety's got to come first."

Race director Stuart McConnachie said in a statement: "We are extremely saddened and concerned by what happened to Tom Evans and have reached out to him to offer our support and access to counselling.

"We were excited to have him race at this year's RMB Ultra-trail Cape Town but respect his decision to return to the UK.

"The natural beauty of Cape Town and Table Mountain is our greatest asset and perhaps this incident is the catalyst needed for everyone to pull together to find workable solutions to protect this asset that brings so many visitors to our shores."

Incidents like this are common in the Table Mountain area, especially for people running or hiking alone, and the race organisers released a statement saying that the race route would be beefed up with additional security.

With over 2000 runners taking to the mountain for the event across three days this weekend, including 400 international athletes, McConnachie added: "[Additional security] includes community police, private security, Metro Police and horseback patrols in certain areas.

"We have the assurance of SANParks, the City of Cape Town, SAPS and Metro Police that strong measures are in place for safety on the trails."