Johannesburg — Nick Bester, the legendary veteran athlete and coach, is targeting a return to the track next year.
This after an almost miraculous recovery from a life-threatening attack earlier this year.
The fabled Comrades Marathon runner was left for dead following a brutal attack while out exercising around the Magalies mountains near his home outside Pretoria at the end of August.
He was also robbed during an ordeal that left him with multiple injuries and required hospitalization in the intensive care unit (ICU) at a local hospital.
The attack triggered global outrage and again put the spotlight on the scourge of violent crime in South Africa.
In an interview with CAJ News Africa, the 60-year-old was upbeat and said he had made steady progress in regaining his health.
“I am now fine,” Bester said.
He is most famous for winning the Comrades Marathon in 1991 at a time of 5 hours, 40 minutes and 53 seconds as well as winning gold nine times in 15 finishes. This includes three second-place finishes.
Bester still remains passionate about athletics.
“I am close to 100 percent and ready for next year,” the veteran, also a former Ironman champion, said in an interview.
Police have arrested some ten suspects in connection with the assault as well as other incidents in the area Bester was brutalised.
The suspects face murder and attempted murder charges.
During his recovery, Bester has been concentrating on his role as the national team manager of the Nedbank Racing Club.
This as athletics makes a return since the government imposed a lockdown to curb the spread of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) locally.
The most recent event is the Nedbank Skosana 10km race run last weekend in Pretoria.
Jacqueline Rencontre, the race director, thanked Bester for the organisation of the event that has been hailed as a success.
Gladwin Mzazi emerged victorious in the men’s race, in a time of 31 min 38 sec.
Glenrose Xaba broke the race’s previous record as she romped home after 34:38 to win the women’s race.