A 76-year-old avid runner says she is unable to walk outside without a walker more than two months after video appeared to show her being violently attacked by a cyclist while exercising in Toronto.
Marion Raycheba told Global News it was a “beautiful day” when she was out for her “usual run” at around 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 22, 2020. She said it was at about 10 a.m. when she was running southbound on Beverly Street. She said she noticed a cyclist riding northbound, straight at her on the sidewalk and they were “really powering it.”
“I am always wary of sidewalk cyclists and I often stop and use my teacher speaking voice and say, ‘Please do not ride on the sidewalk, ride on the road,'” Raycheba recalled.
Only this time, she said the cyclist gave no indication of hearing her and just “whizzed by her.”
“I kept on going south and I think I heard something behind me and I started to turn and I realized he had turned around and was coming southbound in my direction,” she continued, adding she had just enough time to step to the edge of the sidewalk and turn towards him.
“He hit me hard on my left shoulder. I sort of staggered and got my balance. He hit me a second time and I went flat back on the concrete.
“I don’t remember a lot after that.”
Toronto police released a 24-second video of the brutal attack, which appeared to capture the moments leading up to and the attack itself. Police are still searching for the suspect.
In the video, the suspect can be seen striking Raycheba before she fell to the ground. Shortly after, the suspect comes around and kicks her in the head. Raycheba said she didn’t remember until police showed her the video a month later.
“When I see the kick in the head, I flinch a bit. … When the police officer told me that, I was very shaken,” she said. “I always felt very safe here, always felt people would help but this, this really shook me and it reminded me that there are some very troubled people in the world.”
Raycheba said she’s been an avid runner for over 30 years, often running two 10-kilometre runs a week plus a longer one of the weekends.
She said she’s been threatened before by what she calls “sidewalk cyclists,” even being pinned against a wall one time but never like this incident.
Several weeks later, Raycheba said she still feels the effect of a concussion and experiences numbness and tingling in her shoulders down to her hands. She said she doesn’t think clear and stumbles on her words.
Raycheba also said she’s still unsteady on her feet, having to use a walker outside and oftentimes inside, as well.
She said her physio therapist said she may be able to run again somebody, but that she can’t “visualize it.”
“Long distance running is the thing that matters most to me. It helps me clear my heart and mind. Without that, well, my life would be much different and not in a very good way,” Raycheba said.
Investigators described the man as as being between five-foot-eight and five-foot-ten, 25 to 30 years old with black hair and having a muscular build.
At the time of the incident, he was wearing a black surgical mask, tight black pants, a black windbreaker jacket with the hood pulled up and a flap over closure near the mouth. He was carrying an extra large backpack on his back, riding a bicycle with a black and white frame, which may have a had a fender attached.
Anyone with information is asked to contact officers at 416-808-5200 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.
—With files from Kamil Karamali