Stabbing victim to run Buller marathon
Of the 1000-plus entrants in the Buller Gorge Marathon tomorrow, one will be in a class of his own.
Christchurch City Council worker Michael Thomson is still recovering from wounds inflicted by knife-wielding hijacker Zakariye Mohammed Hussein, 27, last March.
Thomson, 55, was on his way to work when Hussein, 27, got in his car in Hoon Hay and went on a stabbing frenzy, leaving Thomson bleeding from the chest, arms and face.
Thomson had completed the Buller half-marathon just weeks earlier.
Entering the race again this year is part of his goal to avoid a victim mentality.
A keen runner before the attack - he has run in the Buller event for the past 12 years - his fitness had to take a back seat.
He started running again in September and said it "felt odd", but things had slowly improved.
"People ask me if I have recovered from the stabbing. I say I won't consider myself recovered until I cross that finish line at Victory Park in Westport," he said.
"An event happening to you can either be the worst thing ever or you make it a fantastic opportunity. It's all a matter of attitude. For me, to be able to run I can say, ‘I've survived'."
Thomson suffered two punctured lungs and is due to have surgery on a hernia in his chest, a complication from the stab injuries and subsequent operation.
While he ran the Buller half-marathon in just over two hours last year, this time he is giving himself some leeway.
He is aiming to finish in a "reasonably respectful" time.
Hussein, a Somali refugee, was jailed for six years and six months. He was off his medication when he went on the rampage.
Thomson said he would not go so far as to say he had forgiven Hussein, but he did not hold a grudge "because I know he's unwell".