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2017 Mount Cameroon Race of Hope: Young Athletes Deny Former Champions Additional Titles

By Moki S. Mokondo in Buea for Fako UK/Fako News Centre

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The 22nd edition of the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope has given birth to a new male champion. The new champion, Fai Elvis, finished the race in 4 hours 24 minutes denying three times champion, Godlove Gabsibiun a fourth title.
Godlove was leading the race from the summit right down to the Buea Council Hall Building around Independence Square when Elvis emerged from behind running at break-neck speed to give him a run for his money.
Spectators, who watched the race between the Buea Council Hall and the Baptist High School in Great Soppo, Buea, saw both athletes running neck and neck until Godlove who could no longer endure the pressure from a much younger athlete gave up his desired first position to Fai Elvis.

The distance between Elvis and Godlove kept increasing and Elvis finally took a clear lead by the time they got to the Street Two junction in Great Soppo, Buea.

Fai Elvis almost gave up winning the race when the police escort confused between an athlete of the relay category of the race for those in the individual category. The relay athlete, who was supposed to wait for his team mates at Hut One to run down to the Molyko stadium together, instead ran down alone at top speed to overtake Fai Elvis. The escort abandoned Elvis to lead this runner until around the Government Bilingual Secondary School Molyko when they (police escort) realised that the relay runner was not running in the individual category of the race.

Godlove finally finished in second position, while Lyonga Essombe, son of crowned Queen of the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope Sarah Liengu Etonge, finished third  as he did two years ago. Last year’s champion, Simplice Ndungeh, finished ninth while other former champions like Mbacham Eric came behind.

Last year’s female champion, Lizette Ngalim, led the female category to finish the race in 5 hours 21 minutes thereby denying seven times female champion Yvonne Ngwaya the opportunity to carry the trophy for the eighth time. While Yvonne finished second in 5 hours 30 minutes, a new name Wirngo Bufula, finished third in 5 hours 40 minutes.
Many times champion and crowned Queen of the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope, Sarah Liengu Etonge, retired but came back to participate in the race for honour and finished 9th in the female category. She had announced before the race that her participation would be for peace in Cameroon, especially after civil unrest broke out in the English speaking regions of the country since November 2016.

This year’s race was organised in different categories. Athletes in the major male and female categories ran from the Molyko Stadium to the summit of Mount Cameroon and back. There were male and female relay categories with teams covering the same distance as in the major male and female categories. Athletes in the junior male and female categories ran from the Molyko Stadium to Hut One before returning to the stadium in Molyko while those in the veteran categories made their turn at the Upper Farms Prison, Buea.

The first three winners in both major male and female categories took home FCFA 10,000,000, FCFA 5,000,000 and FCFA 3,000,000 respectively. More than 80 per cent of the over 600 athletes in the race came from the North West Region and almost all the prizes were also won by athletes from this region. All cash prizes were handed on the spot to the athletes un-like in the past where cheques were handed to them.

The organisation of the race announced before the event that one of their main sponsors, Guinness Cameroon had withdrawn its sponsorship.