Friday, May 24, 2024

‘I fought this scum with every inch of my body’: Brit runner, 36, describes how man tried to rape her in ‘pre-meditated attack’ after lying in wait on popular Algarve jogging route – before she was saved by Garmin fitness tracker

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A British-based record-breaking ultra-trail runner has told how a man tried to rape her in a ‘premeditated attack’ as she trained on the Algarve for an upcoming race.

Alison Walker, who lives in West Yorks, has told of her harrowing ordeal which saw an attacker ambush her on the popular Honey Farm loop route and try to take off her shorts after pushing her to the ground.

The Malaysian-born athlete managed to fight him off ‘with every inch of strength’ she could muster and said she was saved when the struggle triggered an emergency alert on her Garmin fitness tracker.

The terrifying incident happened on Tuesday morning as the 36-year-old, who holds the record solo time for a 300km route visiting the highest points in all 32 boroughs of London called the Smog Graham Round, ran a popular route between Albufeira and Vilamoura. She spoke to police after the scare.

She is now warning other runners planning to come to train in the popular warm weather spot, where there are a number of training camps used by British athletes, to be careful when going out by themselves.

Record-breaking ultra-trail runner Alison Walker described her horrific experience in Portugal

The runner shared pictures of the injuries she sustained to her face during the horrific ordeal

The runner shared pictures of the injuries she sustained to her face during the horrific ordeal

Alison urged fellow athletes not to run around the Honey Farm route (pictured) – where she was attacked – on their own

As well as the GNR police force, Portugal's PJ force was also alerted and a sniffer dog mobilised

As well as the GNR police force, Portugal’s PJ force was also alerted and a sniffer dog mobilised

The tax specialist shared an Instagram post about her ordeal near the Praia da Falesia, one of the finest beaches on the Algarve backed by cliffs extending from Olhos de Agua in the west to Vilamoura in the east.

In it she said: ‘Today when I was doing my session around the honey farm loop, on my second rep some guy ran out of the bushes then grabbed me and pushed me to the ground.

‘He then started to try and take my shorts off. I offered all my valuables and he wasn’t interested!

‘Thankfully my Garmin ‘crash alert’ was activated when I got flung to the ground, I thought I’d just lie and say that’s the alarm to call the police. He then took my watch and fled. So yes, £400 down.’

She described the attack as ‘pre-meditated’, explaining that the man had ‘hid in the bushes’ behind a bend so as not to be seen by people coming up the trail.

She said: ‘The rape scene had a piece of tarpaulin on the ground and a bottle of water,’ adding that the man had brought ’tissues’.

‘Thank God for all my weight training and being able to push him away at the right time. God so f***ing stressful.’

Despite sustaining injuries and having her contact lenses knocked out as she tried to fight off her attacker, Alison managed to run out onto the trail.

There she found a pair of runners, Kevin and Sharon from the UK, who helped to get her to safety.

The group jogged to a tearoom about half a mile away, Alison said, where they then called the police.

She said she was ‘bawling my eyes out unable to see as the attack was forceful and my contact lenses fell out.’

The experienced athlete, who has been running for years and lived in London for more than a decade, said she had never experienced anything like what happened to her this week.

‘I have never felt unsafe on a run before and we’ve run in some dodgy places. Honestly thank god for my Garmin, well, RIP Garmin, it’s now with a rapist!’ she said.

Alison spoke to police after the scare and said GNR officers had been 'ace' in their response

Alison spoke to police after the scare and said GNR officers had been ‘ace’ in their response

‘So if you know anyone who is around the Algarve on a running trip, please please PLEASE tell them not to run around the honey farm loop on their own. PLEASE.

‘The GNR police were absolutely ace though, could not have faulted them. They were so quick and there were about 4-5 cars and vans and a cute dog to find the culprit. He’s still out and about so…

‘I honestly don’t know if I can do the rest of the week’s training, or whether I’ll be ready to race at Crawley in three weeks… but thankfully I got away with just a few scratches on my face and arms and legs and one Garmin down.’

Alison told MailOnline that the watch company has since reached out to her and said it will replace her Garmin Forerunner 955.

She branded her attacker a p**** and scum, saying on Instagram: ‘Running for me has been an outlet, and a bloody love running, to almost have that taken away is unthinkable.

‘To be honest, in those five or so minutes of ordeal, I thought I might not make it. All I thought in my head was, I f***ing worked so hard in my life to get where I am (work, life, lovely home and running, husband and friends) and I don’t want this prick to ruin my life. I’ve always had to fight to get to where I am and whilst I may look like I’ve got it all, trust me, every single step of my life has been a battle.

The runner shared a picture of her battered legs in an Instagram post following the attack

The runner shared a picture of her battered legs in an Instagram post following the attack

‘Fighting to get into the big four to stay in the UK to work dealing with bullying, long hours, exams… just to send money home to support my dad who’s had a stroke and been in care for the last 10 years!

‘I am not a talented runner and rely heavily on a good and challenging plan…

‘And I also didn’t want to catch whatever this scum has in his f***ing body, and literally fought with every inch of strength in my head and body.’

It was not immediately clear today if police had made any arrests. As well as the GNR police force, Portugal’s PJ force was also alerted and a sniffer dog mobilised.

Alison has told in past interviews how she started running after moving to the UK for university.

She took up ultra-running after suffering a severe ankle ligament break in 2018 and reading a book about the demanding sport which had been recommended to her by her physio.

She has revealed in the past to running around 100 miles a week. She started doing ultras in 2019 and came second in her first 100-miler.

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