A Palmerston North man out for an afternoon run came home with a bruised, swollen face and stitches after he was assaulted and robbed on the Manawatu Riverside Walkway.
Monrad Intermediate teacher Jon Clark was out for a run on the walkway between Ruahine and Albert streets on Saturday about 4pm, when his ankle started to play up.
With another 4 kilometres to go, he had slowed to a walk and called his wife to be picked up, when he was accosted by a man who looked to be in his 20s or late teens.
Clark was holding his phone, a Motorola Moto G smartphone, when the youth asked him to "give us a go" on the phone.
When he didn't comply, the youth punched Clark in the face, knocking him down.
The youth took the phone and ran off over the stopbank with two others, leaving a dazed Clark to flag down a passing cyclist, who lent him his phone to call police and waited with him until they arrived.
Clark suffered swelling and bruising to his face, and had to have stitches in his mouth, which then got infected. The injuries put him out of school for three days.
He also suspected that the man might have been holding something, or wearing something on his hand, because he had an unusual straight line mark on his cheek.
Clark plans to get a social running group together on Sunday, meeting at the Esplanade car park play area at 3pm. The run would help him get back into it, and encourage others to keep running in the area. "I would hate it if people stopped going down there; it's their problem, not ours."
Clark said he believed the youths got lucky, because the usually busy walkway was empty about the time he was attacked, and he didn't believe they would have accosted him if he'd still been running.
Sergeant Jeff Veale said a similar attack happened about the same time on the walkway the day before, but information on whether anyone was hurt or if anything was taken from them was unavailable.
Additional police patrols had been put on in the area.
Anyone who saw three people running over the stopbank, or lingering on the walkway in the area of Waterloo Cres, was asked to contact police on 351 3600 or though the anonymous Crimestoppers line, 0800 555 111.
- Manawatu Standard
Do you own your home?Related story: Hot house prices lure buyers to provinces